Water bills across most of the Horsham district will rise below the rate of inflation from 2015 to 2020 according to Southern Water.
The Worthing-based utility company, which serves most of the area as well as other parts of the South East, published its business plan setting out the improvements it hopes to make.
The plan is the result of an 18-month programme of research and engagement involving more than 27,000 customers and community representatives from across the South East.
Matthew Wright, Southern Water’s chief executive, said: “We are confident this is the right plan for our customers. The promises we are making about the services we will deliver have been shaped by them through our most extensive engagement programme ever.
“I would like to thank all of our customers and stakeholders for the input and challenge they have provided. Detailed research carried out during the public consultation on our draft plan showed 90 per cent of customers support our proposals.
“As we developed our plan, we were fully aware of the tough economic conditions which are making life difficult for a number of our customers.
“We have worked hard to do all we can to balance the need to deliver the improved services customers want, cater for a growing population in our region, safeguard the environment and make sure everyone can afford their bills. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of making nearly £200 million in efficiency savings between 2015 and 2020 – that amounts to about £20 per year for every household we serve.”
Under Southern Water’s new plan, average bills will rise below the rate of inflation. The plan will cost £3.2 billion to implement and will support an estimated 6,000 jobs. The changes include:
- 90 per cent of customers’ queries resolved the first time they contact Southern Water
- A 25 per cent reduction in sewer flooding inside people’s homes and businesses
- No ‘serious pollution incidents’ affecting local rivers and coastal waters caused by Southern Water’s operations
- A 15 per cent increase in the number of beaches with the official ‘excellent’ rating for bathing water quality
- A further reduction in leakage of two million litres a day
- A reduction of 15 litres per person, per day in average water use
Anna Bradley, independent chair of the Southern Water Customer Challenge Group, said: “We welcome the way Southern Water has worked with us over the past two years, embracing our advice and responding to our challenge to ensure customers’ and stakeholders’ views have shaped this new plan.”
Southern Water’s plan has been submitted to Ofwat, the water industry regulator. Ofwat will look at the document in detail and assess the company’s proposals, with its final findings due to be announced in December next year.
To comment on the plan visit Southern Water’s website.
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