South West Water to freeze bills

South West Water (SWW) is freezing prices for homes and businesses next year, it has announced.

Standard tariffs and standing charges for households and firms will be pegged until April 2015, the company says.

SWW has also pledged below inflation rises until 2020.

This year's rise was offset by a government contribution of £50 per household, after Chancellor George Osborne said the South West region's bills were "unusually high".

'Terrific news'

SWW bills rose 4.7% this year, bringing an average combined household bill to £543, compared with the industry average in England and Wales of £376.

Charles Howeson, chairman of South West Water's customer panel, said bills were "very fair" for the next five years.

Steve Meakin, of the Plymouth Citizen's Advice Bureau, said the announcement was "like winning the World Cup".

He said: "People are hard-pressed to pay their utility bills, so to have one thing frozen is terrific.

"Customers basically said they wanted the same or better service for the same price."

SWW supplies Devon and Cornwall, as well as parts of Dorset and Somerset.

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