Northamptonshire is one of the areas set to benefit from a £5 billion five-year investment programme by Anglian Water in the East of England.
Anglian Water has said it will be investing in the areas that customers said matter most to them during the company’s biggest ever public consultation.
The firm says ths business plan this shaped is supported by more than 90 per cent of customers.
The plan promises to deliver a £60million war on leakage; investment to ensure resilient water and water recycling services, to protect customers and the environment from severe weather such as drought and flooding; and commitments to tackle the impacts of climate change.
Martyn Oakley, Anglian Water’s director of customer service said: “While committing to this multi-billion pound investment programme, average customer bills are dropping by seven per cent this year - the biggest percentage fall of all other water and sewerage companies in the UK.
“We’ve also introduced a brand new tariff for those struggling to pay and the Anglian Water Assistance Fund has been increased to £1million to help customers facing real financial hardship.”
The average annual bill has dropped by £29 to £402 this year, or £1.10 per day.
Customers with a water meter pay less, with the average bill dropping to £371.
Projects will be starting across the region from today, including a number of projects specifically for Northamptonshire.
These include £22million to improve the resilience of Anglian Water’s network from Grafham Water Treatment Works, which supplies water for more than 1.5 million including Northamptonshire, £2.5million making improvements to the water recycling centre (WRC) in Northampton, Wellingborough and Higham Ferrers, £1.2million further improving the Great Billing WRC and hundreds of thousands of pounds on improvements at Ravensthorpe and Pitsford reservoirs.
Anglian Water has also introduced a new tariff to help those customers who may struggle to pay their water or sewerage bill where it accounts for a significant proportion of their disposable income.
The LITE (Low Income Tariff for Eligible Households) tariff will be independently means-assessed by Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) Northampton and provide a discount on eligible customer’s bills according to their individual circumstances.
As well as making a recommendation to Anglian Water about someone’s eligibility for the tariff, CAB Northampton will also be supporting applicants to increase their income, to reduce their water usage and to signpost or refer them to sources of local advice.
LITE builds on Anglian Water’s commitment to helping vulnerable customers and the raft of measures it already provides, such as free water meters and water saving devices, the Aquacare Plus and Watersure tariffs and a special Anglian Water Assistance Fund for customers facing real hardship.
Customers who want to apply for the LITE tariff can call Anglian Water on 0800 1693630 where trained advisors will be able to discuss ways the company can help customers manage their bills.
Mr Oakley added: “We’ve developed the tariff in consultation with the Central and East Northamptonshire Citizens Advice Bureau and thanks to this partnership we will be helping those customers who need it most.”
Martin Lord, chief executive of the bureau, said: “We are really impressed with Anglian Water’s commitment to helping the poorest off better able meet their water costs.
“Anglian listened to us during the process of drawing up the policy and we think its been well designed to help people – not just by reducing what they would otherwise pay – but also allowing us to offer extra for those who need it most.”
For more information on Anglian Water’s tariffs go to www.anglianwater.co.uk/charges.