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Water Bill Hike

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2:19pm 19th August 2013

Cornwall is facing another water bill hike.

South West Water is asking for an extra £70 by 2020.

It says that would let it unblock sewers in Hayle and Helston and improve water quality around Bude and Falmouth.

But the average family would pay almost £590 a year.

Spokesman Doctor Stephen Bird insisted it is not to fund profits: "The important thing is that we get the balance right. We are talking about further increases in that period of less than inflation recognising the pressure on individual customers' household bills.

"Profits are a necessary part of the way we finance service for our customers because they enable us to fund the capital investment. But the important thing again is getting that balance right and making sure that our customers are satisfied."

Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "We still need to invest in our networks to maintain the achievements of the past such as reduced leakage rates, record tap water quality and transformed bathing waters.
 
"There are also new challenges to face including population growth, the likelihood of more extreme weather and higher bathing water standards from 2015. Our aim is to invest in the right things at the right time to both improve our services and give the region the reliable 'always there' infrastructure it needs.   
 
"In some areas like water resources, we don't need to invest in expensive new reservoirs. However, in other areas such as our programme to improve raw water quality on the moors, if we don't invest sooner rather than later we could end up facing much higher costs in the future.
 
"We believe we are close to striking the right balance between the needs of customers, the environment and the economy. Although no one likes to see bills increase, we should be able to keep future increases below the rate of inflation.
 
"However, before we finalise our plan in December, we need to hear whether customers think we are getting it right. Should we invest more or less in each area? I urge everyone to get involved in WaterFuture to make sure we do the best job for you."

Charles Howeson Regional Chair of the Consumer Council for Water told Pirate FM: "It's not actually an increase; it's not something South West Water benefit from. All of our bills get adjusted by inflation and in this case South West Water is proposing to put in a package of measures which are at or below inflation which customers have requested and I think that's pretty good news."

He added: "I warmly welcome South West Water's response to CCWater's encouragement to share some of its success with customers and not just shareholders; although we will need to look in more detail at exactly how this will benefit consumers.

"People who live in this region have an acute understanding of the problems of high bills and the need for investment in making sure we have a safe, reliable and clean water supply and efficient sewerage systems.

"Customers in the region continue to face some of the highest water charges in England and Wales; we will continue to work with South West Water to encourage more investment in the future."

The money will be used to bring forward programmes to improve a number of beaches in the area, making improvements to the sewer network and in helping vulnerable customers.

He went on to tell Pirate FM: "It's not actually an increase; it's not something South West Water benefit from. All of our bills get adjusted by inflation and in this case South West Water is proposing to put in a package of measures which are at or below inflation which customers have requested and I think that's pretty good news."

For more detailed information, please read WaterFuture: Proposals and Choices 2015-2020 at southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture

Customers, groups and organisations have until 14 September to give their feedback on the proposals by going to southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture or writing to FREEPOST WATERFUTURE.

2:19pm 19th August 2013

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