Thames Water plans to raise bills by more than 10% above the cost of inflation over a five-year period.
Water is emerging as the new battle front in the struggle over the cost of living
Planned price hikes by Thames Water could be reversed after Ofwat attacked the company's performance and its demand for extra money.
Thames Water, the UK's biggest water company, does not expect to pay any more corporation tax for up to a decade, it said, as an above-inflation rise in bills saw its profits rise by nearly a fifth.
The firm says its infrastructure investments of £1 billion a year over the next seven to 10 years mean it will be able to defer £20 million a year in tax liabilities.
The firm, which is at loggerheads with regulator Ofwat over customer charges, has already built up a deferred tax bill of £855.6 million and its latest plans will see this rise to more than £1 billion.
There's evidence that Thames Water's attempts to add 490 million pounds to its customers' water bills has badly backfired. The industry regulator, Ofwat, has refused permission for the rise - and we've learned that the firm could now face a "clawback" of money it has already taken.
Our Consumer Editor Chris Choi explains.
Ofwat's decision to reject Thames Waters' bid to increase prices by 8% is final, but Thames Water could appeal to the Competition Commission.
The company said: "We will review the decision carefully before deciding on our next steps."
Water regulator Ofwat has rejected a bid by Thames Water for an additional price hike for 2014 to 2015 of 8%.
– Ofwat's chief regulation officer Sonia Brown
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.
Water regulator Ofwat has turned down Thames Water's application for an additional price increase for 2014 to 2015.
Ofwat says it was for Thames Water to justify the proposed 8% increase was in customers’ interests.
Within the three month timescale for assessing the application, the water regulator found the evidence the company submitted did not justify its proposed £29 additional increase in customers' bills.
Ofwat’s decision means the maximum that Thames can add to customers’ bills for 2014-15 is still 1.4% above inflation, as set in the 2009 price review.
Thames Water say its not possible to generalise about whether a family would be better or worse off on a meter.
The company says that customers won't be moved on to a metered account until two years after the new system has been activated. During that time they will still be able to monitor their usage on a daily basis and get price comparison bills before switch-over.
Work out how your bills may change here.
Thames Water customers can find out more information about metering here.
Around 30% of Thames Water customers are on meters and the company wants that to be 100% by 2030, starting in Bexley.
Thames Water says it hopes the scheme will encourage its customers to be more water-efficient. It says the new technology allows customers to monitor what they use and research shows metered customers tend to use water more sparingly.
It says London has less rainfall than Istanbul, only half as much as Sydney, yet one of the highest individual levels of water consumption in the UK.
Thames Water were fined for the following offences:
- Euston Road - for breach of permit conditions: £1,600
- Millbank - for working without a permit and three failures to notify offences: £5,600
- Camberwell New Road - for breach of permit conditions and a failure to notify offence: £3,200
- Upper Clapton Road - for breach of permit conditions and a failure to notify offence: £3,200