Water prices not running up

AT a time of rising household bills, homeowners were today given a piece of good news when Anglian Water was told it cannot increase its charges next year.

AT a time of rising household bills, homeowners were today given a piece of good news when Anglian Water was told it cannot increase its charges next year.

Water regulator Ofwat turned down the company's request to increase bills next year – and said it should reduce them by 2.4 per cent instead.

This would see the annual average household water bill fall from £285 to £279 next April.

However there may be an increase when a new five-year contract comes into force in April 2005, and in order to make that less steep Ofwat has said it might allow Anglian Water to leave its bills unchanged next year.


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The director general of water services, Philip Fletcher, said: "We have looked closely at the company's claim.

"Taking into account the funding the company received for work no longer required, as well as their extra costs, we believe customers should, in fact, benefit from lower bills.

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"I have a responsibility to ensure that efficient water companies can finance the services they provide to customers. But customers should not have to pay more than is necessary.

"I see some potential advantage in deferring until April 2005 the reduction in prices.

"I will carefully consider comments from customers, the company and other stakeholders on these draft proposals before I make my final decision."

Anglian Water said it was disappointed by Ofwat's decision and took issue with some of the conclusions drawn.

It would be presenting Ofwat with further evidence before a final decision is made on 11 December.

nHealth officials in East Anglia have no immediate plans to introduce fluoride into the water supplies in the region – although they do support the move in principle.

Strategic health authority spokesman Paul Spindler said today that the legislation currently going through parliament would give local communities the right to decide whether fluoride was added to drinking water to improve teeth.

The water in much of Suffolk contains fluoride which occurs naturally – but nowhere in the region has the chemical added artificially at present.

"We are following the progress of the legislation, but it could be quite a long time before it has any direct impact in this region," said Mr Spindler.

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