Water bills to create new debt problem?

With energy bills rising and worries about general inflation and debt, the last thing consumers may want to hear is that new regulations could mean a …

With energy bills rising and worries about general inflation and debt, the last thing consumers may want to hear is that new regulations could mean a hike in water bills.

However, it has been estimated that a rule change set to be introduced in October this year could do exactly that.

At that point, legal responsibility for the upkeep of the ten million private drains outside British homes will pass from individuals to the water companies.

This will mean they have to spend to maintain and repair such sewers and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has estimated this significant and new obligation” could cost as much as £4.2 million to accomplish over the next ten years.

Calculated per household, this would add £162 a year to the typical bill, something that may place further pressure on those struggling with debt.

This may hit consumers hard, although the hike is by no means certain.

Defra has said the cost is unlikely to be large, claiming the real figure should be no more than £14 a year extra.

And water and sewerage industry regulator Ofwat has warned firms that if they want to charge customers a lot of money for such work, they will need to provide “robust evidence” of the need to carry out such work on a large scale.

More pressure on consumer wallets may be too much for those who have already cut back as much as they can in a time of austerity.

Founder of moneymagpie.com Jasmine Birtles recently stated people she had spoken to who have been trimming household budgets told here they “can’t cut any more” off these.

By James Francis

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