‘Cut bills’ plea over firm’s £663m profit

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

CONCERNED res­i­dents in Peter­bor­ough have to­day called on Anglian Wa­ter to use its multi-mil­lion pound prof­its to cut bills.

The out­burst comes af­ter it was re­vealed that Anglian Wa­ter’s £663 mil­lion profit last year was the fifth largest among the coun­try’s 100 fastest grow­ing firms.

The fig­ures, which have been re­vealed by the Sun­day Times in its Deloitte Top Track 100, have brought de­mands from res­i­dents and cam­paign groups for a cut in house­hold bills.

But the wa­ter gi­ant has de­fended its prof­its and says that ma­jor in­vest­ment is un­der­way to im­prove sew­er­age sys­tems and sup­ply net- works. It also says it aims to re­duce av­er­age wa­ter bills by £28 over the next five years, which it will achieve through its Pay as you Flow plan to in­stall free me­ters in thou­sands of city homes.

Spokes­woman for Peter­bor­ough Pen­sion­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion Mary Cooke said: “I think they could do more for cus­tomers given how much profit the com­pany has made. The prob­lem is that, while wa­ter me­ters are suit­able for some peo­ple, they are not suit­able for ev­ery­one. For ex­am­ple, a fam­ily with a few chil­dren would be forced to closely watch how much wa­ter they use and that is not the best way for them.”

Tony Fro­bisher (37), of Oun­dle Road, Peter­bor­ough, said: “I know they are in the busi­ness to make money, but they should help the cus­tomers a bit more with lower bills. Our bills have gone up re­cently and there are al­ways prob­lems with burst mains.”

Meri Hyde (32), of South­fields, Stan­ground added: “We have been told we can’t have a me­ter at the moment, but some­times they are more ex­pen­sive any­way. Bills should be cut for ev­ery­one.”

An­drew Mack­in­tosh, spokesman for Anglian Wa­ter, said: “Pay as you Flow would over the next five years re­duce the av­er­age bill by £28. Over the last two years we have in­vested £50 mil­lion into the re­silience strat­egy, which means that the sys­tem is now fully pre­pared for ma­jor events, such as floods.”

The Con­sumer Coun­cil For Wa­ter have been cam­paign­ing for bet­ter prices and ser­vices for res­i­dents. Dame Yve Buckland, chair­man of the coun­cil said: “We will be press­ing the com­pa­nies and Ofwat to make sure that the next five years de­liver a con­sumer fo­cused pack­age of ben­e­fits, at a price cus­tomers are will­ing to pay.”

A spokesman for reg­u­la­tor Ofwat said: “Prof­its are nec­es­sary to al­low in­vest­ment to main­tain and im­prove ser­vices. Our job is to pro­tect con­sumers, and make sure mo­nop­oly com­pa­nies de­liver safe, re­li­able sup­plies at a fair price. We will con­tinue to monitor com­pa­nies to make sure they do that.”

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