There are a number of water companies that supply water services to the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. Each company runs a certain region. Customers from Scotland are tied to a single water company, and those from Northern Ireland are fortunate enough to not have to pay for their water services. Customers who don’t live in these two places are tied to their water company. They cannot change company, but they can take action to regulate their water rates if they feel they are unfair.
The company OFWAT (Water Services Regulation Authority) aims to maintain water rates and make sure certain regions do not overcharge. Some companies may have to increase their prices for certain reasons, and OFWAT deem whether this is acceptable or not. The public can contact OFWAT if they have any concerns regarding their water rates, and the company will take action if enough customers are unhappy.
The water rates from company to company tend to be fairly similar as a result of OFWAT’s work. Some regions may charge more due to economic reasons or purely the sheer number of customers. It can be expected that water providers in the London area may charge more for their water rates because of the high demand, and because the usage increases the potential of damage to their facilities.
The water and sewage company with the highest water rates in 2005 to 2006 was the London region, covered by the Thames water company. On average, this company charged £150 for the year for water services. This is fairly high when compared to the water and sewage company that charged the lowest amount for the same year on average - £107 per year from the Southern water company. Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the average amount customers have had to pay for their water services. It increases every year, so as a result of this and the many water companies, it is difficult to name an exact average water rate for the United Kingdom.
Many people have expressed concern due to the monopolising effect that the water companies can have. As customers are unable to change their water service provider, they are forced to accept the water rates they are charged, no matter how unreasonable they may be. But with average rates ranging from £100 to £150 in one year, there isn’t a huge difference from company to company.