Annual household water and waste water charges will increase by an average of 0.9% from April - with over 400,000 customers paying less.
Changes are being made to the Water Charges Reduction Scheme (WCRS) which can reduce the water and waste water charges for households that receive Council Tax Reduction. From 1 April 2021, these changes extend the WCRS to include 290,000 households that receive both Council Tax Reduction and the single person Council Tax discount, and increase the maximum level of support available through the WCRS from 25% to 35% of the full water and waste water charge for the dwelling. In total, 446,000 households will pay less in water and waste water charges in the financial year 2021/22.
Customers who pay full charge levels will see their charges increase by 2.5% – around £10 per year for a Band C household. This means the average increase across all customers, including those who receive support, is 0.9%. The expansion of the Water Charge Reduction Scheme is worth £86 million over the next six years, the length of the water sector’s regulatory period.
“Our mission is to provide the public water and waste water services which are essential for daily life in Scotland while delivering great value for customers both now and in the future.”
Chief Executive, Scottish Water
The increase in charges follows extensive customer research which found that customers are against delaying necessary investment in vital water and waste water infrastructure that will result in higher increases in future. Charge levels are in line with the Water Industry Commission for Scotland’s Final Determination published in December 2020.
The charge increase will support investment necessary to maintain water quality and service standards despite ageing water and waste water assets and the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
The extra investment will also support our ambitious plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, supporting the Scottish Government’s target for Scotland to get to net zero by 2045.
Scottish Water is publicly owned, and so pays no dividends to shareholders and all money raised from customer charges is invested in the services we provide.
Over the last ten years domestic water and waste water charges have been reduced by ten percent in real terms and they are now among the lowest in Great Britain.
Douglas Millican, Scottish Water Chief Executive, said: “Our mission is to provide the public water and waste water services which are essential for daily life in Scotland while delivering great value for customers both now and in the future.
“Events of the last year have underlined this responsibility and the role Scottish Water plays in protecting the health and hygiene of Scotland. That’s why more than 4,000 of my colleagues work hard each day to keep vital water and waste water services going and it is also why we need to ensure these services are sustainably funded for the future”.
“The combined challenges of ageing assets and climate change, as well as the need to drive down our carbon emissions, mean we have no option other than to invest for the future”.
He added: “We are very aware of the economic conditions and the pressure on household finances and that is why we have restricted charge increases to a maximum of 2.5%.
“This decision, together with the Scottish Government decision in its Principles of Charging to increase and extend the Water Charges Reduction Scheme, strike the right balance between helping our customers this year and avoiding much higher increases in future years.”