Yorkshire Water has announced that its new water and sewerage charges will be the second cheapest in the UK and help to fund its planned £318m investment over the next 12 months.
The multi-million pounds investment will ensure the firm meets its three major challenges posed by climate change, a growing population, and ageing infrastructure.
As of April 1st, average monthly bills for Yorkshire Water’s customers will rise broadly in line with inflation (RPI) by an average of just over one per cent, or £5, to £366 per year.
However, compared to other water companies this represents the second cheapest bills in the UK and is £33 cheaper than the national average.
Annual water and sewerage bills will also continue to remain significantly below the cost of gas and electricity bills that stand at a combined cost of around £1,098, according to Ofgem.
The announcement of new customer charges comes as Yorkshire Water enters the second year of its bigger ever investment programme which will total £3.8bn between 2015 – 2020.
Over the next 12 months this will equate to around £318m spent on improving water and sewerage services, including drinking water quality and waste water treatment. Investment will also be made to conserve moorland, protect the environment from flooding, and improve rivers.
Chief executive Richard Flint said: “It is of paramount importance for us to keep our customers’ bills fair and affordable and that’s why we are the second cheapest water firm in the UK.
“The slight increase this year has been agreed with Ofwat and is largely due to inflation and the simple fact that the price of many of the products and services we use as a company has risen.
“Along with income from customer bills, strategic borrowing will also provide a vital revenue stream to enable us to invest £318m. This investment will help us continue to maintain, manage, and improve crucial water and sewerage services that the public rely on.
“It is never an easy decision to increase bills but we have committed with Ofwat to keep our prices lower or approximately at the rate of inflation.”
Key schemes and projects Yorkshire Water are investing in over the next five years include:
- Hull – £30m at its Hull Waste Water Treatment Works to reduce odours. This will include installing new aeration systems in each of its eight tanks to improve oxygen levels in waste water to help reduce odours
- Sheffield – £24m at Rivelin Water Treatment Works near Sheffield to enhance drinking water quality for thousands of residents in Sheffield
- North Yorkshire – £4.8m at West Stonesdale Water Treatment Works to provide water from a more reliable source, reducing the risk of bursts, water supply interruptions and leakage
- Whitby – around £10m to improve Whitby Waste Water Treatment Works including the sludge plant, tanks and washwater system
- Flood resistance – £14m in storm tanks to upgrade the sewer network to help protect homes from flooding
- Water pipe upgrade – £13 million to replace old Victorian iron water pipes with modern plastic equivalents that will benefits 20,000 homes across the region and help reduce leakage
- River improvements – restoring 379km of the region’s river environment to good ecological status in parts of the rivers Aire, Swale, Derwent, Don and Rother
- Fish passes – £6m to open up the region’s rivers to more fish at more than 20 sites across Yorkshire so fish, including salmon, can more easily travel up them to breed
An independent report by the University of Leeds has underlined how Yorkshire Water’s investment will deliver massive economic benefits at a time when it’s most needed, with every £1 invested by the company having a knock-on effect in the wider Yorkshire economy of almost double that.
Richard Flint added: “The major investment we are planning over the next five years will have a positive ripple effect on the regional economy, benefitting over 1,000 suppliers that we use and helping us to continue to be one of the largest employers in the region with 2,500 staff.
“The challenges of a rising population, ageing infrastructure and climate change all come with a cost too. By making this investment it will mean we can continue to meet a rising demand for more water, mitigate the impact of weather events such as extreme flooding, and modernise our assets to enhance their performance.”