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Thames Water asks regulator for permission to raise bills


Thames Water has asked its regulator, Ofwat, for permission to raise water bills by as much as 12pc.

This would come into force next year, and affect around 14 million people across the UK. If this move is approved, the average annual bill would rise by £29 before the effects of inflation are even considered.

The justification by Thames water for this move is that it would be a one-off, and is reacting to a string of bad debts, as well as needing to raise significant funds to finance the proposed building Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Usually, the prices of water bills are set in a five year cycle by Ofwat, and are not subject to change throughout that term. However, the regulator is said to be considering the request as these are new costs that were not foreseeable at the time when the current price was set; and a decision is expected to be reached within three months.

Thames Water currently operates with the second lowest average annual charge of any water and sewerage provider in the UK, with an average annual bill of £354.

Stuart Siddall, Thames Water’s chief financial officer, said: “At the beginning of the five-year period, there are always a small number of potentially significant costs that can be clearly identified, but not quantified.

“Increasing prices is never good news, which is why the company and its shareholders are encouraging Ofwat to adapt its regulatory mechanism to allow the impact of the price increase to be spread over more than one year to avoid a spike in bills for our customers”.

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