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Seven out of 10 water firms fail bills test

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Only three out of 10 water firms in England and Wales have passed the latest review by regulator Ofwat.

All firms had to submit plans to cut bills for millions of consumers over the 2020-25 period, while reducing leaks and helping vulnerable customers.

Most failed to meet the regulator’s requirements.

But plans from Severn Trent, United Utilities and South West Water were approved. The rest have been told to go back to the drawing board.

“In the coming months, the remaining water companies will have to strengthen their plans so they too deliver for customers,” Ofwat said.

“Four companies – Affinity Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Thames Water and Southern Water – have the most work to do in order to meet the tough challenges Ofwat has laid down for the sector.”

Severn Trent has pledged to cut customers’ bills by an average of £18 a year in real terms by the 2024-25 financial year as part of its business plan.

United Utilities has proposed a £43 cut, while South West Water ‘s planned cut is £73.

Ofwat chief executive Rachel Fletcher said: “We have challenged all water companies to deliver more for less for customers over the next five years.

“They’ve listened to the customers they serve. We’re seeing an increased focus on the things closest to people’s hearts, such as keeping bills affordable, cutting leakage, protecting the environment and helping those most in need.

“Three companies have already stepped up to the mark with high-quality plans and stretching commitments to customers for the next five years.

“The rest of the sector now needs to meet this high standard so that customers across the country get better and more efficient services.”


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