Discover Discuss Decide

Anglian Water is proposing that its bills not rise by more than inflation for the five years to 2020.

The move comes after worries about bills emerged as a big concern in the company’s biggest ever customer consultation – called ‘Discover, Discuss, Decide’ - earlier this year.  

The firm believes that by becoming even more efficient, it should still be able to spend more than £2 billion on maintaining services and investing in things that matter most to customers, such as reducing leaks and helping them to save water.  

It has laid out its proposals in a report called ‘Shaping Our Future’. Customers are now being invited to say if they feel the report gets the balance right before final plans are submitted to the regulator for review and decision later this year.  

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s Managing Director, said: “We gathered the views of more than 50,000 people to help shape both our plan for 2015 – 2020 and beyond.  

“The message came back that people don’t want to see any deterioration in the service they get, but they are worried about the cost of living.  

“We can’t control inflation but feel its impact as much as our customers. So we are making a commitment that, as long as our regulator agrees, bills won’t rise by more than inflation and we won’t ask customers for any more on top of that.   

“A plan which asked people to pay bills rising more than their other costs simply wouldn’t be credible.”  

He added: “We realise that customers would prefer no increase in their bills at all. But the reality is we need to spend money on essential equipment and maintenance, to help prevent flooding and pollution, and of course we must cope with the challenges of a growing population and a changing climate.  

“Having listened to our customers, and taking into account the challenges they face, I believe we can invest more than anyone else in the region to help underpin our growing economy, to keep our environment healthy and to secure water supplies and high quality service for the future.”  

Areas highlighted by customers and that the company has committed to spend on, include:  

  • Tackling leaks   - Anglian Water already leads the industry in reducing leaks and plans to make further, significant reductions, taking it well below the target set for it by its regulator Ofwat.  
  • Metering   - The aim in the plan is to have most customers on a water meter by 2020. Metering will not be compulsory, but Anglian Water believes all customers should be metered where possible. Customers felt it was the fairest way to pay.  
  • Being resilient to future challenges   - One goal is ensure all customers can get their water from more than one treatment works so, if something goes wrong at one, their water supply is protected.    

Peter Simpson said: “We would like to say a very big thank you to all the thousands of people who took part in our consultation. Based on what we heard, our plans have been shaped in line with customers’ priorities.

“We are now asking if the right balance has been struck between spending to maintain and improve services and keeping bills affordable.  

“People can tell us by visiting before August 18th. They will find the plan, a summary document, a video and a very short questionnaire to fill in.”