Return to water charges menu
Compulsory water metering and over charging – scandals of water privatisation in England continue    

If we want to see the consequences of water privatisation, we need only look to England and Wales, where water services were privatised in 1989.  This has brought about a steady rise in bills and a deteriorating service.  Over the next five years water bills are forecast to rise by 18%.  Recently there have been droughts in southern England, with one company even introducing compulsory metering.  However, the main problem with water in England is not a scarcity of water but the refusal of the private water companies to adequately invest in the network.  This has even seen reservoirs sold off or “rested”.  Their priority is not providing a public service or promoting public health but in maximising profits for their shareholders and the salaries of their executives.  Another example of how water firms are lining their pockets has been the overcharging of customers by Severn Trent Water.  This involved the deliberate miscalculation of data on which the firm’s price plan for the period 2005 to 2010 was based.  This became known when a whistleblower reported the company to the water regulator Ofwat.  After an investigation, it found that the water firm had overcharged by £2 to £3 per household a year, a total of £2m during 2004- 05.  Severn Trent Water has been forced to issue an apology and is to make an average refund of £4 to each customer in their next bill.


Return to top of page