Thames proposes 11% rise in customer bills to fund Tideway Tunnel
Thames Water is seeking an 11% increase in customer water bills between 2015 and 2020 to help pay for the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel. The company, which has submitted its price proposals to regulator Ofwat, said that while average water bills will decline between 2015 and 2020, an increase of £8 above inflation for each of the five years to fund the development.
The company is the only one out of all the water utilities not to hold or cut prices in real terms, and the move comes just weeks after Ofwat rejected Thames' proposed plan to increase water bills by £29 in 2014/15.
Thames Water wants to deliver £5.1B of investment between 2014 and 2020 for improvements to pipes and sewers, as well as the £2.8B Tideway Tunnel.
Martin Baggs, CEO at Thames Water, said work to maintain and upgrade the company's existing network and services will be done with "bills no higher, at today's prices. Building the tunnel, however, will require increases of £8 above inflation for each of the five years from 2015".
He said the water and sewerage infrastructures urgently needs upgrading and Thames has invested £1B every year on this work. But there is a lot more that needs to be done, he added.
Thames Water's five-year plan includes:
- Fitting smart meters to locate leaks and encourage customers to save water
- Introduce a social tariff to halve household bills
- Reduce flood risk
- Improve reliability at large water treatment works
- Reduce the amount of water taken from rivers
- Investigate reducing groundwater entering sewers
- Improve pipes and pumps to keep pace with population growth
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