United Utilities give out discount for water bills
Water monsters, United Utilities, are forgoing a 1.2% price hike for 2014-15, which is all set to save customers around £5. It isn't much, but it is better than fluoride poisoning. This move came on the back of pressure from regulator Ofwat and the Government to help ease the burden on household bills.
The water company said that they had got a £75m tax rebate from HMRC and would use £20m of that to provide a "special customer discount".
"We are discounting prices next year so that customers do not pay the full allowed price increase, meaning that, on average, bills will go up by no more than inflation," Steve Mogford, United Utilities’ chief executive said. In addition to that, a further £17m of the rebate will be used to provide further support for customers struggling to pay, with the remaining £38m "to be used for future sharing with customers".
United Utilities reported a 9% rise in pre-tax profits to £135.6m for the six months to the end of September, so they can afford to be a little generous. Hopefully, some of the other big water companies will start to follow their lead.
Ofwat actually determine how much can be charged by water utilities, and chairman Jonson Cox (stop laughing at the back) and Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, had both written to water firms asking them to forgo price rises.
Steve Mogford - big cheese at United Utilities - denied that they were being bossed around by political pressure, saying that they were "very aware" of the high levels of deprivation in the North West (where the company does most of its trading) and had already taken steps to help customers, saying that the tax rebate used to fund next year's discount came from a "long-standing tax matter between the water industry and HMRC" over corporation tax.
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