Water bills to rise 5.7 per cent in England and Wales

Average water and sewerage bills in England and Wales are to rise by 5.7 per cent in April, which equates to £376 per household, it has been revealed.

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But regional variations mean that some customers will be paying more - with Southern Water set to raise prices by 8.2 per cent and Thames Water by 6.7 per cent.

Other areas will see lower rises however, with Dwr Cymru only raising prices by 3.8 per cent.

South West Water will have the highest average annual bill at £543, which will include a rise of 4.7 per cent.

Despite its 6.7 per cent rise, Thames will actually be the cheapest at an average of £339.

There is a five-year plan of annual rises which is running up until 2015 - raising money to pay for infrastructure upgrades of around £22bn.

Water watchdog Ofwat said the difference between regions was accounted for by varying costs for each company, with Southern having to spend on flood defences and water supplies to new housing estates.

Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said: "Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises.

"We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. We will make sure customers get value for money."

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