Aeter firms have been encouraged to be more “creative” in how they charge customers to help cut bills and save on supplies.
Under the new Offwater rules, Affinity Water, which supplies homes in south-east England, will be able to use small amounts – or “blocks” – of water from around 1,500 pre-selected households at cheaper rates and larger quantities. Will charge progressively higher prices to do so. ,
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The firm said it expected at least two out of three households to pay less for their water than at present in a trial set to begin later this year.
Offwater’s announcement comes as households in England and Wales are set to see the biggest increase in their water bills in almost 20 years from April, when they rise by an average of £448 a year.
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Industry body Water UK said a 7.5% increase would mean customers would pay an average of around £1.23 a day – an increase of 8p a day or an average £31 more on last year’s charges.
Ofvat said the tests could include seasonal charging to help reduce water bills in winter, reducing bills for homes with water butts and permeable driveways, and charging to cut water use when low is low. Fees may be included for the purpose.
Successful trials can be conducted in all homes in a given area.
Currently, customers’ bills set a flat standard amount based on the type of their property or a flat rate based on how much water they use.
Ofwat Chief Executive David Black said: “We know that a growing number of customers are struggling with the pressures of cost-of-living. At the same time, climate change is affecting water resources which threatens river health and water supply. present significant long-term challenges to security.
Companies need to use every tool at their disposal to support affordability Encourage us all to use water wisely and reduce our impact on the environment
“While charging is only one approach, companies need to use every tool at their disposal to support affordability, encourage us all to use water wisely and reduce our impact on the environment .
“We are encouraged that Affinity Water is leading the way in developing ways to lower customer bills while protecting our precious water resources. We want to see more companies seek out and implement innovative solutions.
Emma Clancy, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Affinity Water is delighted to see that innovative ways of charging customers can not only make bills more affordable, but potentially help households save more on their own Can also unlock environmental benefits by encouraging you to reduce bills.Water usage.
“There remains huge scope for further innovation and we want other companies to urgently consider alternative charging options to help ease the pressure on people’s finances and the water environment.”