£50 rebate on water bills to take effect from April
A £50 reduction to water charges for all households in Devon and Cornwall will be applied automatically to bills, it was confirmed yesterday.
The Government has finalised plans for the annual rebate for South West Water customers to begin from April next. It will run until at least 2020.
The taxpayer-funded bail-out is compensation for the botched water industry privatisation that left the region paying for the upkeep of a third of the nation's beaches, meaning customers have had the highest bills in the country for many years.
This year, South West Water's average bill rose by £26 to £543. That is £167 more than the national average. None of the government funding will be retained by South West Water and the company will not profit in any way, it says.
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Monica Read, South West Water customer relations director, said: "This is a great achievement.
"It is thanks to everyone, including MPs of all parties, Defra, the Consumer Council for Water, pensioner groups and the regional media, who, together with thousands of individual customers have helped make the case for the region alongside us over many years, for this reduction.
"Household customers will have the reduction automatically and clearly applied to their bills from next April.
"They need take no action, just look out for the line 'Government Contribution' on your bill during 2013/14."
The Government has also taken steps to allow "water resellers" to pass the £50 reduction on.
"Resellers" include landlords, property managers and individuals reimbursed by their neighbours for shared charges who pay South West Water and then charge someone else, typically a tenant.
The flat rate reduction is not linked to how much water a household uses.