Anglian Water has today unveiled a huge investment programme for the year ahead, worth £384million. Customer bills will remain broadly flat with an increase of less than a penny a day for the coming year. It means Anglian Water bills today are less than they were five years ago, as the water company tops the table for the lowest bill increases since privatisation – just 10% in nearly 30 years*.
The investment will be targeted at maintaining and improving customer services across the East of England. The funds will be ploughed into the areas that customers say matter most to them including reducing leakage even further, providing top quality drinking water, protecting against severe weather such as drought and flooding and tackling the impacts of climate change.
This is the fourth year of Anglian Water’s £5billion commitment to 2020, which will be paid for by average bills of just £1.17 per day for an entire family – less than a litre of bottled water or one barista coffee.
The company has been able to keep this year’s increase to 0.7%, well below the level of inflation (CPI 2.8% in November 2017 when the following year’s bills are calculated),
Since privatisation almost 30 years ago, Anglian Water has increased customer bills by just 10% – far less than any other water company, and far less than increases in other household bills like energy, TV, mobile phones and food. Electricity on its own has gone up by 25% in a shorter time frame**. This is testament to the business’ on-going efficiency drive and its long term commitment to passing savings back to customers.
The stable bills have been maintained while continuing to invest in robust infrastructure to prepare for a future with more people but fewer raindrops.
Jane Taylor, Head of Customer Services at Anglian Water, said: “Bills are still lower than they were five years ago thanks to the price reductions we have promised and delivered. We’re always doing everything we can to run our business more efficiently, which translates into value for money for our customers, all while still investing heavily in the things they care about most.
“This year’s small bill increase is evidence of the water industry’s tough regulation working to benefit and protect customers.”
Anglian Water’s yearly bill calculations are affected by two factors: how many people move in and out of the region, and how much water those customers use during that year. At the end of each year, the predicted and actual figures are reconciled. If Anglian Water’s revenue is higher than predicted, this money is passed back to customers straight away. This reimbursement to customers has meant Anglian Water bills are practically flat this year, despite inflation, and the system is a great example of where regulation of the water monopoly is ensuring fair charges and properly protecting customers financially.
Jane continued: “The average bill of £1.17 per day pays for all the water you need to wash and drink, and for every flush of the loo and cycle of the dishwasher. But more than that, it helps us build and look after a water network that protects both the environment and our customers.”
“Water meters are still the best way to save money, and the savings speak for themselves. The average annual metered bill comes in £171 cheaper than a bill without a meter. It’s a win-win because it’s free to switch to a meter, and if you change your mind you can switch back, for free, within two years.”
In the East of England, 85 per cent of homes now have a meter. Average bills for metered customers are just £1.10 per day, £397.57 for the year – an increase on last year of 1 per cent, or less than 1 pence per day. Anglian Water also offers a free home visit from a qualified plumber who’ll fit free water saving gadgets and give customers helpful water saving tips.
How is customers’ money invested?
Stellar leakage performance for another year: Anglian Water’s unique commitment to reducing leakage means the company doesn’t pass the cost of improving leakage performance back to customers unless it beats a very stretching target. This was something the company agreed with customers in 2015.
Already Anglian Water is way ahead of the rest of the industry, making the targets set even more challenging in relative terms. The company is finding and fixing more leaks faster than ever before with the best leakage record in the industry – around half the national average of other water companies.
Paul Valleley, Water Services Director for Anglian Water, said: “We know leakage matters to our customers, particularly in such a dry region.
“We now have a 300-strong leakage team, working on projects such as our innovative pressure management scheme that dramatically reduce the number of bursts. We’ve even got drones with thermal imaging cameras finding leaks from the air.
“We invested up-front last year to really get ahead of the leakage challenge, and it’s been hugely successful. Our upfront £60million investment has only added an additional 2p per month to the average household bill, which customers told us was excellent value for money. We believe leading the industry on cutting leakage is the right thing to do for our customers and the environment and we’re determined to go one step better every time.”
A £384 million investment programme: next year 540 billion litres of water will be treated and supplied to customers, before being used and then treated and safely returned to the environment. It’s a vast operation that costs around half a million pounds per day to run. It’s also a huge contribution to the economy, creating or securing thousands of jobs each year. Some of the schemes over the next 12 months will include:
- £22million to keep leakage levels at industry-leading lows. By 2020 Anglian will have invested an additional £60million in a war on leakage, bringing the five-year total spent on fighting leaks to a colossal £128million.
- The completion of a £34million scheme at Heigham Water Treatment works in Norwich to protect the environment along the River Wensum and secure supplies for the growing city of Norwich.
- £100 million improving, maintaining and refurbishing hundreds of water treatment works and water recycling centres across our vast estate.
- £48million maintaining, refurbishing and renewing parts of the 37,000km water pipe network.
- £10million maintaining, refurbishing and replacing parts of the 70,000km sewer network.
- £23million to extend and upgrade our water recycling centres to accommodate the growing population in our region.
- £15million keeping sewers clear of fatbergs and wipes. We’ll clear 43,000 sewer blockages – that’s one every 15 minutes – most of which are caused by people putting the wrong things down the loo and sink.
- £16million to connect hundreds more rural homes to the mains sewerage network for the first time, totalling £70million by 2020.
- £8million to reduce flooding from sewers as part of a £45million focus that will protect hundreds of properties from flooding by 2020. £1.5million will be put up for matched funding to get more partner flood schemes off the ground too.
- £1million will be invested in innovation. This will be the second year of Anglian Water’s Smarter Drop initiative, aiming to create the water network of the future. The initiative will centre on Newmarket, and will become Anglian Water’s ‘Shop Window’ for pioneering new technology before rolling it out to the wider region.
- £360,000 to protect the region’s coastal waters by investigating sources of agricultural and urban pollution, and to work with the farming community to protect the rivers and boreholes that provide raw drinking water. We’re also extending our BeachCare and RiverCare initiatives to cover more miles of coastline and rivers than ever before.
- Over £6.5million will be spent fitting free water meters, replacing old ones, and offering free water saving devices to help customers become more water efficient.
- Millions of pounds will be spent on improving water quality to reach even higher standards.
- Millions of pounds will be spent on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of our operations. For instance, every year we repair and replace more than 3,000 manhole covers,.
Caring for local communities and future generations: water is central to our way of life. Without freshwater there’d be no swimming pools, no hospitals, no restaurants, and no beer – it takes 148 litres of water to produce just a single pint of the good stuff. As well as supporting essential businesses and agriculture, Anglian Water cares about ensuring our region is a fantastic, thriving place to live and work. Here are some of things you might not expect Anglian Water to be doing:
- 24,000 children will enjoy learning about the water cycle, efficiency and climate change in local schools across our region as well as at our two education centres.
- The first intake of students will earn their qualifications in engineering and construction at the Anglian Water-sponsored school, the Greater Peterborough University Technical College.
- Using ‘Poo Power’, our Water Recycling Centres will generate enough clean energy next year to fuel 40,000 homes.
- We’ll protect important habitats and species at 47 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in our region, covering nearly 3,000 hectares, or 4,120 football pitches, of land. These include Water Voles, Nightingales, which are breeding at some of water parks and form part of a five year research project, and Ospreys.
- Two million visitors will enjoy our award-winning water parks and recreation sites over the year, including the hugely popular Aquapark and Beach at Rutland Water. More than 500 keen anglers hold season tickets, and hundreds of people will get married at the iconic Normanton Church on the banks of Rutland.
- Anglian Water employees will volunteer thousands of hours to charities close to their hearts, including WaterAid, the global charity founded by the water industry three decades ago.
Supporting people in vulnerable circumstances: every year Anglian Water commits £1million to help vulnerable customers facing financial hardship. On top of this the company is continuing its successful social tariff – LITE – which is already helping thousands of customers on low incomes to save up to 80% on their bill. The average saving for a customer on LITE is £212 per year. www.anglianwater.co.uk/LITE
More information, including details of support available for those who struggle to pay their bill, is available on the Anglian Water website at www.anglianwater.co.uk/charges or www.anglianwater.co.uk/customerinformation