By Marcus Leach

The average household water and sewerage bill in England and Wales is forecast to increase by 5.7%, or about £20.

This takes into account a rate of inflation of 5.2%, and will mean an average bill of £376 in 2012/13.

In 2009 Ofwat made its decision on how much water and sewerage companies could charge customers between 2010 —15. The regulator's challenge of companies' proposed bill rises meant that across England and Wales average bills are set to remain broadly in line with inflation by 2015.

And around ten per cent lower than what companies asked for. This is before inflation is factored in. The rate of inflation is added to bills on a year-by-year basis.

“When we set limits on prices, we listened to customers. They told us they wanted bills kept down, while maintaining safe, reliable water supplies. We challenged companies hard to deliver this. Our decision meant that, before inflation, average bills would remain broadly stable between 2010 -15," Regina Finn, Ofwat Chief Executive Officer said.

“We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises.

“We will make sure customers get value for money. Companies are investing £22 billion by 2015 — more than £935 for every property in England and Wales. This will deliver benefits to us all — from continuing to improve reliability of supplies to cleaner rivers and beaches.

“If companies don’t deliver on their investment promises, we will take action.”

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