Households in parts of Wiltshire could see water bills rise by more than 10 per cent above the cost of inflation - but elsewhere in the region they could drop by around six per cent. Thames Water wants to make the increase to pay for a new sewer in London.
By contrast Wessex Water says its bills will fall in real terms from an average of £479 a year now to £454 by 2020.
Thames, which pays no corporation tax, last week announced half-year pre-tax profits were up by nearly a fifth to £134.2 million, helped by an above-inflation tariff hike. It is already at loggerheads with the regulator over customer charges.
Thames serves 14 million customers in and around London. It said its current typical £358 bill is £50 below the average for England and Wales but would increase to £398, plus inflation, for 2020.
Last month it was slapped down by Ofwat over plans for a one-off £29 bill hike for next year, because of unforeseen costs including customers failing to pay their bills, as well as the Thames super sewer.
Thames Water wants to increase prices for customers in the West to help pay for a new super sewer in London.
The company, which supplies water to parts of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, has applied to regulator Ofwat to add an extra £29 onto every household's bill. Thames Water says the company is facing a tough time financially even though its revenues rose to £1.8 billion in the last financial year.
The Consumer Council for Water has expressed disappointment over Thames Water’s plans to increase its prices next year. The company’s proposals could see the average water and sewerage bill in the Thames area (including parts of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire) increase from £354 to almost £400.
The company says the rise is to cover a rise in bad debt, costs associated with the 2011 transfer of private sewers to company ownership, and land purchase linked to the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
Many other water companies absorbed the costs that Thames say they are facing – and they have done so without applying for a further price increase. We believe that Thames Water should do the same. Our research shows that one in seven customers say they can’t afford their water bill. This is reflected in an increasing number of customers defaulting on payments to their water company. Thames Water’s price hike will add to the problem.
Chief Executive Martin Baggs will receive pay rise to £450,000 plus a £274,000 bonus
Mr Baggs in line to collect a further £366,000 next month as part of a long-term incentive plan
Firm said its taxable profits were reduced by allowances on its £1 billion-a-year investment programme
Leakage of 646 million litres a day, up from 637 million litres
We recognise, however, that regardless of these exceptional circumstances, we have not always provided the best service to our customers.
Over the past financial year exceptional weather conditions have presented tough challenges for the business.
The period began with a drought, following the driest two-year period on record, and ended with widespread flooding after becoming England's rainiest 12 months on record.
Despite these challenges we have for the third year running carried out a further £1 billion of improvements to our networks, while the average household bill in our region is the second-lowest in the country."