It’s time for Londoners to unite in opposition against a planned increase in water bills of £29 for 2014-15. Following the announcement that Thames Water has sought permission from water regulator Ofwat to increase bills for millions of hard-pressed Londoners, I felt compelled to write to Ofwat urging them to reject any hike in charges.
Thames Water defended the increase, citing customer debt, increased environment agency charges and the unexpectedly high costs of purchasing land for construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Thames Water is the only water company to have made an application to Ofwat.
Following my letter,Ofwat’s Director of Finance Keith Mason wrote to me, stating that (Ofwat) “will not approve any increase in bills that Thames Water does not justify as being in their customers’ interests”.
Ofwat will not approve Thames Water’s raid on family budgets unless they can justify the hike as being in the interests of Londoners. Yet, It is unbelievable that Thames Water, one of the country’s biggest water companies, should be seeking to raise prices at a time when many Londoners are struggling with the rising cost of living. Thames Water themselves acknowledge this, stating without any sense of irony, that it’s because of increased customer debt that prices must go up. Research from the Consumer Council for Water has shown that one customer in seven is already struggling to pay their water bill.
The decision now rests with Ofwat to decide. I would urge Londoners to contact Ofwat and tell them if they think if it is in their best interests to pay an extra £29 next year. Londoners can write to the regulator at Ofwat, Centre City Tower,7 Hill Street, Birmingham, B5 4UA.”