Budget Living

UK Average Water Bill: Price Hikes In 2019

Although completely necessary, the cost of your water quickly creeps up. With the cost of these bills rising in April 2019, they’ve become increasingly costly. If you’re convinced you pay more than you should, you may be interested in finding out just how your water bill is calculated. Here, we look at the UK average water bill is calculated and how you can possibly reduce your monthly costs.

How is the UK average water bill calculated?

Surprisingly, the amount of water you use has little to do with your final bill – especially if you don’t use a water meter. In this case, your bill will likely be a fixed sum that covers admin combined with the rateable value of your home. This is based on factors such as the size and condition of your property as well as the surrounding area. 

Your local authority will assess the rateable value of your home. Unfortunately, these ratings and what the values involved in them can’t be changed, having been decided between 1973 and 1990. The rating will remain the same even if you make significant home improvements and you can’t appeal it if you think the rating is too high. 

If you think your water bills are too high, you may want to switch to a water meter. This means your water bill is based on your usage rather than the rateable value and you can typically ask your provider to change your plan. Switching doesn’t have to be permanent, either; if you find that you use a lot of water and save more money without a meter, you can typically switch back during the first 12 months. 

What is the average water bill?

While the exact average varies depending on the location, there was a significant hike in the cost of monthly water bills in the years 2018 and 2019. Despite this, Water UK has stated that the cost of water bills have fallen by more than 5% since 2015 when inflation has been considered. 

Commenting in February 2019, Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts stated: “We’re on course to see extra investment and a decade of falling bills, showing a water industry that is dynamic and passionate about delivering real benefits for customers, the environment and the country as a whole.

“The water industry’s record has been good over the past 30 years – cutting leakage, keeping bills affordable, improving water quality, and cleaning up rivers – but it’s clear that water companies have higher ambitions for the future of water with customers right at the heart of everything that they do.”

The price hike varies per county, with those in Yorkshire paying 4% more – around £16. Those who use Southern Water as a supplier, however, are only expected to pay an additional £1 a month with their 1% increase. 

With this in mind, Water UK has stated that the new average bill is now £415, which is £8 from 2018 year’s average. While this is an increase, it is less than to be expected when inflation is considered. In real terms, this means that bills have actually been lowered by around 5 per cent between 2015 and 2020.

How can I reduce my water bill? 

Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to reduce your water bill unless you switch to a water meter. Those who have one can cut down on costs by reducing their usage, such as having shorter showers, using water-efficient shower heads or a water butt. Consider switching to a meter to see if you’re paying too much on a set rate or discuss it with your provider to see if you can trial it. 

If you do have a meter, there are a multitude of ways you can cut back on your bills. As well as the aforementioned ideas, you can also:

  • Swaps baths for showers
  • Don’t leave the tap or shower running when shaving, brushing your teeth etc
  • Fix leaking taps to avoid water wastage
  • Swap your sprinkler for a handheld hose or watering can
  • Check for leaks
  • Only use your washing machine or dishwasher when you have a full load
  • Use a water filter and put it in the fridge rather than running your tap until it’s cold to drink
  • Use a broom to clean driveways or your steps rather than a hose

By using our water-saving tips and cutting down on the amount you use, you’ll find that your water bill decreases if you have a meter. There are a multitude of other things you can do to cut down the amount of water you use, and it’s worth trialling a meter if you don’t have one currently.

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