Southern Water and South East Water announces inflation rate price rise for customers in Kent, Sussex and Hampshire

Water companies have announced they will be increasing bills by nearly 10% due to “growing economic pressures”.

Southern Water and South East Water, which supply most of Kent, have stated the price hike is in line with inflation and customers should expect to see between a 9% and 9.7% increase on their annual charge.

Homes in Broadstairs were left without water earlier this week. Stock Image

The changes will see average yearly bills rise from £401 – which the company said was 4% lower than across the industry – to £439 for dual service customers, while water only bills will go up by 9% and waste only by 9.7%.

Southern Water claims the extra money raised will ensure it can “continue to improve performance and provide the service customers and the environment deserve”.

Katy Taylor, Southern Water’s chief customer officer, said: “We are aware that the UK’s cost-of-living crisis is a worry for many of our customers, and this is why plans to increase tariffs are never taken lightly.

“The rise this year reflects the growing economic pressures of chemical, energy and wage inflation.”

The utility giant launched a £98m support package in December 2022 to help struggling customers.

A water leak in Augustine Road, Minster, in August 2022
A water leak in Augustine Road, Minster, in August 2022

Ms Taylor added this recent price increase will enable them to help more people with difficulty.

“We are channeling more money than ever before into supporting customers in need – particularly those who may struggle to pay their bills,” she said.

This £98m will boost the support package we already offer customers including payment holidays, special tariffs, debt write-offs, bill reductions and grants for household items.

“If you know anyone who is finding it hard to pay their bills, please encourage them to get in touch with us as we can help,” she added.

South East Water plans to charge its customers an extra six pence a day, an increase of 9.48% compared to last year’s average price.

It claims the rise is also in line with inflation, and “will help with the significant costs the company is seeing for electricity and chemicals needed to produce drinking water at its treatment works”.

‘The rise this year reflects the growing economic pressures of chemical, energy and wage inflation’

Customer services director for South East Water, Tanya Sephton, said: “This is undoubtedly a very tough time for everyone and we are working hard to expand initiatives in place quickly to make sure help is given where it is needed most and often without our customers.” needing to ask.

“Our average bill works out at 66 pence per day for all the water supplied to the home for drinking, cooking, cleaning, gardening and of course the extra hygiene we know is so important.”

At the same time, South East Water has increased the income threshold by 9% for its Social Tariff scheme, which caps the cost of tap water and waste water from £16,480 to £18,005.

Ms Sephton added: “We really do encourage anyone worried about their bill to contact us as soon as possible and we’ll help find the right options for them.”

Southern Water has been in trouble water with many customers in recent months, with some refusing to pay bills due to concerns over sewage being dumped in the sea.

Queues for water in Sheppey
Queues for water in Sheppey

Homes in Broadstairs and Ramsgate were left without water earlier this week, the fourth supply issue in a month for some.

In December last year, roads were gridlocked in St Peters, Broadstairs, as customers queued for bottled water after four days of dry taps following a leak.

Elsewhere in the county, roads were washed with water on the Isle of Sheepey after long-running leaks in October.

Back in summer, the Isle was hit as 30,000 homes were left without water during the heatwave leading to Southern Water launching a multi-million pound project to install a new pipe under the Swale to supply the island.

Also last summer, a woman criticized Southern Water for failing to fix a leak estimated to be wasting tens of thousands of liters of water a day in Sittingbourne.

The company is planning a £2bn package of improvements between 2020 and 2025 and recently launched details for a new reservoir in Broad Oak, near Canterbury.

A spokesman said the company has not paid any dividends to shareholders since 2017.


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