Plan for £1.27 billion improvements submitted


Northumbrian Water has today submitted a plan to the regulator Ofwat that proposes increased investment to improve and maintain services for five years from April 2010 to March 2015.

The plan covers water and sewerage services for operations in the North East and water-only services in Essex and Suffolk. 

It proposes an average annual price increase over the five years of 3.4% to support a £1.27 billion investment programme – an increase of 22% on the amount that will be invested between 2005-2010.

Ofwat will use the plan to set draft price limits in July 2009. It reflects the views of customers and other stakeholders, who will have a further opportunity to comment before Ofwat’s final announcement on price limits in November 2009.

Northumbrian Water’s final plan also takes into account a number of significant changes from its initial draft plan submitted to Ofwat in August 2008.

These include increased costs from tax and business rate charges and changes to economic forecasts as a result of reduced demand for water and waste water services from commercial and industrial customers.

Managing Director, John Cuthbert, said: “There have been a number of significant and unavoidable changes since we published our initial draft plan making it inevitable that bills will be higher than we initially envisaged. 

“We appreciate that this will be unwelcome news for customers and we have done all we can to manage the impact of increased costs, as well as phasing prices to avoid a large unacceptable increase in 2010/11.

“Our bills in the North East will remain amongst the lowest in England and Wales and those in Essex and Suffolk will continue to be relatively low considering the investment required to maintain water supplies in this dry part of the country.

“We believe our plan represents excellent value for money and will allow the business to continue to deliver top class services in the North East and in Essex and Suffolk.”

Major investment in the Essex & Suffolk Water region includes the planned £150 million expansion of Abberton reservoir near Colchester and maintenance of existing water treatment facilities.

In the North East there will be major investment to maintain environmental improvements achieved to rivers, coasts and estuaries from sewage treatment and for further work to reduce sewer flooding and incidence of discoloured drinking water, in addition to improvements to, and maintenance of, water treatment facilities. 

Bills are set to ensure that customers in the North East do not subsidise investment in the Essex & Suffolk region and vice versa.

By 2014/15, households will pay on average (2007/08 prices):
• 41p per day for water services in the North East
• 48p per day for sewerage services in the North East
• 53p per day for water services in Essex & Suffolk

Average household bills (2007/08 prices - £)

   1999/00  2009/10   Forecast 2014/15
 North East (water and sewerage)  303  297  322
 Essex & Suffolk (water only)  162  166  195

More details of the final business plan can be found on the websites: / /

For further information contact Alistair Baker on 0191-301-6851 or 07711-793-493.

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