Westminster Labour Councillors urge water regulator to reject Thames Water 8% price hike

Labour Councillors have written to OFWAT, the water regulator, to urge them to reject Thames Water’s application to increase prices even further above inflation for 2014/15. Thames Water has applied to increase bills by an additional 8% for 2014/15, on top of the 3% above inflation they have already increased household bills by between 2010 and 2015. Last year Thames Water posted a record profit of £549 million.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group said:

“Many Westminster residents are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and paying utility bills is more of a struggle every month for many people. Real wages have fallen for 36 consecutive months. Water is one of the biggest outgoing faced by every household in Westminster and residents simply can’t afford yet another above-inflation price hike. Residents are being asked to pay more while Thames Water is making record breaking profits. OFWAT should reject this application.”

Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow London Minister said:

“On a bill as unavoidable as water, hiking bills above inflation in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis while posting record breaking profits is frankly outrageous.”Ends

Letter to OFWAT

Regina Finn
Chief Executive
OFWAT

Dear Ms Finn,

I am writing to you in regards to Thames Water’s application to OFWAT for permission to increase their prices once again, in addition to the 3% above inflation they have already increased their prices by between 2010 and 2015.

I find Thames Water’s application staggering, particularly as they offer no social tariffs to those struggling to pay their bills. The increase will add an additional 8% to household water bills, which residents in Westminster can already barely afford.

I would be grateful if you could confirm that OFWAT will be taking the considerations below into account when making your decision:

1) Thames Water’s profits. Thames Water posted a record £549 million in profit last year. I find it beyond belief that Thames Water are asking hard working Londoners to pay even more for their water bills at the same time as posting the biggest profits in the company’s history.

2) There is a cost-of-living crisis in Westminster, as I’m sure you are aware, where real wages have fallen for 36 consecutive months and the average Londoner is £42 a week worse off as a result. Wages grew at the smallest rate since records began in the last quarter and there is no sign that real wages are likely to improve during the period in question.

OFWAT has an important role as the industry regulator and custodian for London’s consumers. It is important that rigour is applied whenever a request is made by a water company but even more so in light of the circumstances above.

I would strongly urge you to reject Thames Water’s application. On a bill as unavoidable as water, Thames Water’s attempt to hike bills even further above inflation in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis while posting record profits is outrageous.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group

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