Water bills to fall by £30, says regulator

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Households will see cuts in their water bills averaging £30 by 2005 as a result of price controls announced today by industry regulator Ofwat.

Households will see cuts in their water bills averaging £30 by 2005 as a result of price controls announced today by industry regulator Ofwat.

Director general of water services Ian Byatt said a further £30 per customer would be invested in protecting the environment, raising quality standards and maintaining supplies.

As soon as next April, customers would see an average 12% cut in their bills, while spending on environmental improvements would hit £15 billion over the next five years.

Companies would find room for the cuts through making enforced savings, said Mr Byatt.

Of the £15 billion-plus investment programme, £7.4 billion will go on ensuring better drinking water and cleaning up rivers and beaches.

Investment in the infrastructure will total £6.4 billion and £1.7 billion will be spent ensuring that the supply of water meets essential demands.

Ofwat has met consumers, companies, environmental groups and other regulators in its research for the rulings.

The final recommendations are less dramatic than previous proposals. In July, Mr Byatt suggested a 14% price cut between the end of this year and 2005. That would have brought cuts of up to £40 in bills.

Last October, his initial figures called for a reduction of 15% to 20%.

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