Four water companies increasing prices for 2013-14

Four companies providing water in the eastern counties are to increase prices next year but at different levels.

Anglian Water customers will see a £12 a year rise which amounts to a typical increase of 4%.

Essex and Suffolk customers will pay an extra £6.24 or a 2.95% rise while Thames Water makes the biggest rise of 5.5% or an average bill of £354.

Cambridge Water prices will rise on average by 2.8% to £130. Critics said water firm profits are too high.

Martyn Oakley, Anglian Water customer services director, said: "The rise will be about 4%, although customers with a meter will see smaller increases.

"This rise is mainly due to inflation, which was at 3% when bills were calculated. The remaining 1% is to help pay for Anglian Water's investment programme, which this year will be £466m."

'Can limit prices'

Essex & Suffolk Water said they were investing an average of £75m on essential improvements each year from 2010 to 2015 - a total of £375m over the five year period.

Construction work is nearing completion on expanding Abberton Reservoir, near Colchester, to enable it to hold an additional 15 billion litres of water at a cost of £150m to help ensure there are sufficient supplies of water in the future for 1.5m people in Essex.

Steve Morley, regulation director and head of compliance at Cambridge Water, said: "The average water bill will increase by just £4 over the course of the year meaning customers will continue to benefit from the second lowest water charges in the country."

Dame Yve Buckland, chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: "Water companies are making higher profits than expected and they need to give some of this back to their customers.

"They can limit their own prices or invest more money into services - they shouldn't keep it all for shareholders and investors."

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