Anglian Water outlines largest ever year of investment
01 February 2022
Anglian Water outlines largest ever year of investment focusing on climate resilience, environmental protection and driving down leakage
Including £28million of support for customers as cost of living increases
Anglian Water has today unveiled a huge £680million investment programme for the year ahead. The largest investment ever planned for a single year will be spent across the entire East of England, which is the driest and one of the fastest-growing parts of the country.
The funds will be ploughed into areas of work specifically aimed at preparing the region to meet the urgent challenges of climate change and population growth, as well as protecting the environment.
The water company will also continue to offer a wide range of support for customers to help them plan and manage their water bills, as the cost of living increases that have swept the UK over the last 12 months are set to continue.
Average water bills for the coming year are expected to be £454 for the year, or just £1.24 per day – an increase of just 6p per day on last year’s charges. This 5% rise compares to a forecasted average energy bill price hike of around 40%. Having a water meter remains the best way of keeping bills affordable as customers only pay for what they use.
Anglian Water’s Director of Customer and Wholesale, Pete Holland said: “We know this year is going to be tough for our customers, as the cost of living increases for us all. That’s why we’re committed to keeping water bills as low as possible while still preparing our region to meet the significant challenges of a rapidly changing climate, and growing population.
“The average bill of £1.24 per day pays for all the water you need to wash your hands, to drink and to cook, and for every flush of the loo and cycle of the washing machine. But more than that, it helps us build and look after a water network that protects both the environment and our customers while looking ahead to future challenges too.”
A £680million investment programme: fit for a changing region
Operating in the driest region of the UK, Anglian Water has often highlighted the future challenges of water scarcity facing the East of England. The company’s largest ever five-year business plan, which began in 2020, outlined ground breaking schemes specifically designed to tackle this challenge, while protecting the region’s environment for the long term. The proposals were wholeheartedly endorsed by customers.
This is the third year of that cycle and will see boots-on-the-ground as this work continues, including:
· Environmental investment: £157million to protect and enhance the natural environment by removing chemicals such as phosphates and ammonia from used water, and working with organisations like The Rivers Trusts on river restoration projects to protect some of the region’s unique chalk stream habitats. This work forms part of Anglian’s £800million Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP), which is larger than that of any other water company.
· Tackling CSOs: Within that programme of work, £52million will be spent on work tackling Combined Storm Overflows by increasing the network’s capacity to store excess rainwater, investigating and remedying the highest spilling CSOs and installing more monitors across the sewer network, so future investment can be targeted in the places where it can have the most benefit for the environment.
· Securing future supplies: £124million continuing work on the region’s biggest water infrastructure project for a generation, creating hundreds of kilometres of new interconnecting pipelines and associated infrastructure to move water around the region wherever and whenever needed. This is part of an ambitious new investment in resilience to keep taps running and minimise the impacts of future droughts, and reducing the amount of water taken directly from the environment.
· Helping customers save water: £31million will be spent on the continuation of the company’s programme to roll out over 1 million upgraded water meters across the region, helping customers to understand their water usage and identifying leaks in customer’s homes to better meet demand for water in the future.
· Reducing leakage: £11million on continuing to drive down leaks, retaining Anglian Water’s position as having the lowest level of leakage of any water company in the UK, by almost half.
The company will also invest heavily in maintaining and improving customer service, providing top quality drinking water and protecting the region against severe weather such as drought and flooding.
Continuing support for customers and communities
Every year Anglian Water commits £1million to help vulnerable customers facing financial hardship. The year Anglian Water will continue to extend financial support to over 300,000 households via its WaterCare Service.
Alongside helping people who’ve needed financial support this year, the water company has also increased the number of customers signed up to its Priority Services Register, meaning over 250,000 of the most vulnerable customers will get additional help should they need it.
The company’s priority service helps a wide range of people, from those with sight, hearing, or mobility difficulties, to parents with babies under 12 months old. The service also provides support to customers with long or short-term medical needs should there be any interruption to their water supply.
Pete continued: “Offering the right support for our customers has never been more important. Over the next 12 months we’ll be helping over 300,000 people by putting together packages of support that are tailored to meet their individual needs. This might be through accessing affordable tariffs or payment holidays for those who may be struggling to pay, or could be as simple as direct debit payments to help spread the cost each month.
“Whatever the circumstances, our message to customers is simple: if you’re struggling, please get in touch. The sooner we talk, the sooner we can help. And not only with your water bill, our Extra Care team can also signpost you to other support that you may be entitled to.
“This is the biggest investment we’ve ever made in a 12-month period and it comes at an incredibly challenging time for everyone. Our customers can be reassured that we invest every pound in doing the right thing now and for the long term. We believe our responsibility is to them, their communities and to the environment we look after.”