Below inflation water charges mean bill will remain among lowest in the country
South Staffs Water has confirmed household bills for water will stay below inflation for 2014/15.
The announcement means customers will benefit from the third lowest bills for water in the country, while continuing to receive the highest levels of customer service.
At 1.3%, the rise is 1.4% below inflation and will see the average water bill for South Staffs Water customers rise from £142 during the current financial year, to £144 for the 12 months beginning 1 April 2014. The bill is 23% lower than the national average of £188.
South Staffs Water also bills customers on behalf of Severn Trent for sewerage services and, when adding these charges together, the average combined bill for South Staffs Water customers remains the lowest in England and Wales.
The news comes just six months after South Staffs Water came top of the Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) which officially measures the levels of customer service at all water companies in the UK for 2012/13.
The bill increase is necessary as part of a £39m investment plan during 2014/15, which will include maintaining and improving the company's network of underground pipes, as well as other assets such as reservoirs and pumping stations, in order to continue to reduce leaks and improve services to customers.
Rachel Barber, Customer Service Director said: "We know that our customers expect us to provide a high quality service at the lowest possible price. So, once again we have worked hard to keep our costs down. On average, the tap water we provide is under 40p a day."
Although South Staffs Water charges one of lowest water bills in the country, the company recognises that finding the money can sometime be difficult, particularly in the current economic climate. The company has a range of payment options available to help customers to budget, including weekly, fortnightly and monthly payment plans, as well as a capped bill scheme, WaterSure, which some customers may be eligible for.
Rachel added: "If you're having problems paying your bill, please call us on 0345 60 70 456. Your call will be dealt with in confidence and we'll do our best to help, but we can only help if we are aware you are having difficulties.
"Those customers using low amounts of water may want to consider opting for a water meter. Water meters are usually free, and could help you save money. There is also advice on how to save water on our website, www.south-staffs-water.co.uk."