THAMES Water have confirmed they will be hiking sewage and water bills by 3.4 per cent to help pay for the 'super sewer' which many residents do not want.
The water company argues the Thames Tideway Tunnel, dubbed the 'super sewer', is the best solution to stop raw sewage overflowing into the River Thames when it rains.
Carnwath Road on the Fulham riverside will bear the brunt of the disruption from major excavation work, while 14 million Thames Water customers are set to pay an extra £12 a year.
While most UK water companies are increasing prices by less than the rate of inflation, the biggest company, Thames Water, will impose a 3.4 per cent hike on the combined water and sewerage charge. Which will come into effect on April 1.
Thames Water have admitted there may be further price hikes but have promised the total increase in customers’ bills to pay for the ‘super sewer’ will be capped at £80 a year.
Greg Hands, the MP for Chelsea and Fulham, has called on Thames Water to do more to protect the pockets of their customers, and not to pass on the cost, hiking prices above inflation.
He said: “This rise stems solely from Thames Water’s plans for the expensive ‘super sewer’, as evidenced by the fact they are cutting the water supply component of the bills. I am continuing to campaign against the drilling of the tunnel from Carnwath Road in Fulham, and against the project cost being passed on to customers. Thames should follow the good example of other UK water companies and cut prices for their customers in these difficult times.”
Carnwath Road resident Ann Rosenburg, said: “It’s outrageous Thames Water is imposing the cost of this white elephant on millions of its customers, to the benefit of its shareholders. The effect of building the tunnel will do incalculable damage to both the physical and mental health of the communities who live nearby like Carnwath Road, and the reality of this is brushed aside by this private utility company in the interest of big business.”
A Thames Water spokeswoman said: “It is clear that bill increases are only acceptable if they are absolutely essential, but customers have told us to avoid storing problems, which would cost more to fix, for the future.
“Much of London’s water and sewerage infrastructure dates back from Victorian times, and urgently needs upgrading – which inevitably puts upward pressure on bills.
“The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a must-do project to give greater capacity to a sewer system built in the 1850s, and to prevent tens of millions of tonnes of sewage discharging into the Thames every year. All of the suggested alternatives would take longer, cost more, cause much more disruption and fail to clean up the river properly.”
The ‘super sewer’ is planned to be built by 2020.
The 3.4 per cent rise is the final one of the current five-year pricing period. Regulator Ofwat is analysing and challenging companies’ business plans for the period 2015-20. Final decisions on these prices will be made by January 2015, with new bills coming into effect in April 2015.