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August 14, 2003 2:27 PM
Norman Baker MP

Norman Baker MP

If every household in Britain used metered water from their current water supplier instead of the more widely used rateable value, British consumers would cut £317 million a year from their water bills - a saving of £20.11 per average household per year.

A further £364 million would be cut from bills if everybody paid the same rates for metered water as the cheapest metered water supplier (Dee Valley) - an extra saving of £18.46 per average household per year. Disparities in bills mean that the most expensive water supplier (Tendring Hundred) charges 66% more for metered water than the cheapest metered supplier (Dee Valley).

Liberal Democrats are pushing to introduce universal metering for all homes with provisions to ensure that large families on low incomes are not adversely hit financially.

Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, who released the figures, said:

"British people face a rising tide of water charges. Steep fluctuations in pricing mean many bill payers are drowning in extra costs. To stop this, consumers should be switching to metered rates and expensive water suppliers should be reducing the cost of metered water.

"Metered water supplies benefit the environment, as well as the wallet, by providing an incentive to conserve water as consumers pay for what they use.

"Some difference in charging between water suppliers is to be expected but to have large differences between the cheapest and the most expensive is clearly wrong. There is no logic to the way water is being charged for in the UK. Universal metering at fair prices is a better deal for the public and the environment.

"The Government should take the opportunity that the Water Bill, currently going through Parliament, presents to bring some fairness into the system."