8% rise in Thames Water bills blocked by watchdog because it was not justified
The water watchdog, Ofwat, have blocked a large 8% rise in Thames Water bills, saying that the price hike wasn't at all justified and that the already agreed 1.4% rise above inflation was more than sufficient.
Thames Water applied to Ofwat over summer, to put prices up further than expected, and Ofwat's chief regulation officer Sonia Brown said: "We said we would challenge Thames' application, in the interests of customers. We did just that and on the evidence provided we are not convinced that an extra bill increase is justified."
Naturally, Thames Water are looking like they'll be launching an appeal against the decision.
However, it looks like Ofwat are ready to scrap with water companies and the government is egging them on. Water firms are more heavily regulated than energy companies and environment secretary, Owen Paterson said: "We know that household budgets are under pressure, and keeping water bills affordable is a crucial way we can help hardworking people. That is why we are pressing hard to make sure customers get a fair deal."
With price reviews set to take place in conjunction with inflation announcements, there will definitely be further increases, but it certainly seems Ofwat are playing hardball in our favour.
If only Ofgem were as able to nix energy hikes in the same fashion.