Scottish Water has announced that average weekly household water bills in Scotland will rise by £35.95 a year — or just under 70p a week — in 2024-25 in order to provide investment “to protect vital water and waste water services.”
The increase – 8.8% above current charges – will take effect from April 1, 2024.
“The charges are set by the Scottish Water Board at a level consistent with the Final Determination for charges for the 2021 to 2027 period, set by the independent economic regulator, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland,” said publicly-owned Scottish Water.
“Around 50% of households in Scotland receive financial support with their charges as they automatically have either a discount, exemption or reduction applied to their water and waste water charges.
“Between 2010/11 and 2024/25, average charges to customers have reduced 10.3% in real terms relative to CPI inflation.”
Scottish Water — the UK’s fourth largest water and waste water services provider — serves over 2.6 million households supplying more than 1.5 billion litres of water and removing and treating more than a billion litres of used and surface water daily.
Household customer charges generate around £1.5 billion annually, but Scottish Water warned that “further significant increased investment is needed in the coming years to deal with rapidly increasing climate change impacts, population shift, and ageing infrastructure.”
Water and waste water charges to licensed providers who supply businesses and other non-domestic customers will also increase by the same amount.
Scottish Water invested a record £886 million in the year to March 31, 2023. Revenue for the year rose to £1.836 billion from £1.733 billion while surplus before taxation fell to £60.9 million from £90.8 million.
Scottish Water CEO Alex Plant said: “Our core services play a vital role in the daily lives of millions of people in Scotland. As a publicly owned body, we have a clear responsibility to ensure what people pay is affordable and set at a fair level for both current and future generations.
“The board’s decision on charges for 24/25 recognises the need for significant investment to protect services now and for the future as climate change means that more volatile weather conditions are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
“Whilst increases in bills are never welcome, and we acknowledge that cost-of-living pressures remain this 70p a week on average increase will set us on a pathway to recover ground lost over the past two years when charges were set at a level lower than allowed for under the regulatory settlement.
“These charges will help us continue to meet our customers’ expectations, enable investment for resilience, and strike a fair balance between what customers today are paying and what future generations will need to contribute.
“The Water Charges Reduction Scheme, and other discounts, exemptions, and reliefs, which apply to around 50% of all households in Scotland, are in place to help customers who may struggle to pay.”