UK regulator agrees water bill price cuts with three firms


(Reuters) – Britain’s water industry regulator said on Thursday it agreed reductions in bills of between 5 percent and 15 percent with three of the country’s main utilities in its draft approvals of their pricing and investment plans for the next five years.

Shares in FTSE 100-listed Severn Trent and United Utilities lost 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent respectively after the announcements, while those in South West Water-owner Pennon Group fell around 1 percent.

In a statement published on Thursday, Ofwat said Severn Trent would cut annual bills by an average of 4.7 percent or 16 pounds over the five year period.

United Utilities will deliver a larger 11 percent, or 49 pound cut, while South West will reduce bills by 15 percent or 77 pounds.

Those were the differences between projected 2019-20 and 2024-25 bills at 2017-18 prices, the regulator said here

The draft decisions for 2020 to 2025 also include commitments for the three utilities to spend 1.2 billion pounds to reduce pollution and clean 4,500 kilometres of rivers.

Ofwat also agreed with the trio on the need to cut leakage by at least 15 percent by 2025. Utilities have faced fines for pollution and weathered one of Britain’s hottest ever summers last year with a series of supply shortages and hosepipe bans.

The utility praised all three water companies for upping the bar on their planning and underlined they had been given “Fast Track” status for their 2020-2025 plans as a result. Other water companies had submitted revised plans at the start of April and would be granted decisions later.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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