Households in England and Wales will see their average bills drop by around £17 a year, starting in April 2020.
The fall represents a four per cent reduction in bills, bringing the average annual cost down to £396.60.
Water companies regularly top lists of customer dissatisfaction, with many people criticising them for poor performance, leaks, and high prices. Industry watchdog Consumer Council for Water welcomed the fall in prices.
Andy White, the CCW’s Senior Policy Manager, said, “Many households don’t feel they get a fair deal from their water company but over the next five years customers are set to receive more for their money – and we want them to take full advantage.
“There are still millions of households who could tap into savings by switching to a meter or cut their bills if they’re on a low income by signing up to their company’s social tariff.”
The chief executive of Water UK, Christine McGourty, said the reduction proved that the industry was “committed to giving customers good value for money”.
But the industry regulator Ofwat took credit for the price drop, and said companies had reacted to its demands for “greater efficiency”.
What average prices will be like in your area
While the average water bill in England is almost £397 per year, prices can vary widely across different regions.
Here’s how each water and sewerage company’s average household bills compare for 2020/2021, according to Discover Water:
Anglian: £412Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water: £451Hafren Dyfrdwy: £300Northumbrian: £326Severn Trent: £358South West: £470Southern: £391Thames: £394United Utilities: £420Wessex: £447Yorkshire: £406
In December, Ofwat announced that it would force UK water companies to reduce average bills by £50 by 2025, as part of a move it said would “transform” the industry.
Under Ofwat’s plan, which will come into force in April this year, companies will have to reduce bills by 12 per cent before inflation - around £50 per year for the average household.
Water UK’s announcement of a £17 price cut seems to be water companies’ first step towards meeting Ofwat’s demands.
But the regulator’s plan doesn’t stop with a reduction in bills. Ofwat is challenging water companies to reduce supply interruptions by 64 per cent, leakages by 17 per cent, and pollution incidents by 34 per cent. The industry will also be tasked with improving the condition of more than 12,000km of waterways like streams and rivers.