Water bills set to soar under new sewer plans

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You'd be hard pushed to find someone who doesn't think they already pay enough for their water. However, a move today means that we'll all be forced to spend even more at a time when we can least afford it.

So just how much are your bills going rise, and why?

Why the rise?
The rises are expected as a result of the fact that water companies are taking over responsibility for managing private sewers. Previously each household was responsible for the bit of sewer running from the main sewer in the road to their property. It was a mystery to most people, because the sewers have never been properly mapped, so we had an unquantifiable and potentially expensive problem running under our gardens.

As of today, the water companies are taking over the responsibility for it.

This has a real upside. Previously if a neighbour stuffed something completely inappropriate down the drain, it could wash into your bit of the sewer and you could end up with a bill for hundreds of pounds - or more if it caused flooding. Now, the water company will step in.

The side effect
However, the nasty side effect is that we're going to end up paying for the privilege. It's not just that the water companies are taking on a completely unquantifiable risk, they are also losing the revenue from offering insurance on private sewers. The end result will be huge increases in bills.

The government has calculated that it's likely to add up to £14 a year to bills, but some at the water companies expect it to be far more. The Consumer Council for Water, told Financial Mail that the estimates were just best guesses and no-one knows what it will cost to look after these bits of the sewers. We don't know where they are, we don't know what state they are in, and we don't know what it is going to cost to maintain and repair them. We can only assume that the fact they haven't been maintained or repaired since they were put in is probably not a good sign that they are in stunning shape.

This isn't the first of the massive price hikes. In fact, since privatisation 20 years ago, bills have gone up 50% to roughly £1 a day. This is a huge cost for householders who are struggling with bills and are having to brace themselves for more hikes from every kind of utility company. The question is just how much more of this we can stand before we have to stop spending on anything outside of the essentials.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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