Water bills could go up to pay for London Tideway TunnelBy Jon Nurse
October 23, 2012
Water bills in Wokingham could rise to help cover the cost of Thames Water’s latest multi-billion pound project.
Homeowners across the borough may have to pay up to £80-a-year extra in their water bill to help build a proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel in London.
The sewer, which is estimated to cost £4.1 billion, would capture tens of millions of tonnes of untreated sewage, which currently overflows into the River Thames after a small amount of rain.
Pete Wiltshire, 47, of Chestnut Avenue, said: “I understand Thames Water needs to invest in places of need and that’s good as long as it’s spread across all areas.
“It feels like utility bills never stop increasing. I find it slightly troubling that profits come out of that process and a bit unpalatable that my rising bills help pay their shareholders.”
Hayley Blakeman, 25, of Langborough Road, added: “If I have to pay less than £10 extra per month I’m okay with that. The tunnel would be in East London, but it’s still the Thames Valley.
“My husband and I are fortunate that we wouldn’t notice the change much, but my concern would be for people who are already stretched with their bills.”
The nine-year project to build the tunnel could start in 2014, with a rise in bills likely to come a few years later.
A Thames Water spokesman said: “We previously made it clear that bills need to rise to pay for the cost of the Thames Tideway Tunnel and are now able to give our customers advance warning of the likely increase and the timing.
“Ofwat sets limits on water bills in line with the work that water companies need to do, and will scrutinise the Thames Tideway Tunnel costs to ensure they are kept as low as possible.”
South East Water supplies fresh water to Wokingham homes, while Thames Water manages the borough’s sewerage service.
A South East Water spokeswoman said: “To avoid confusion we work together and provide our customers with one bill.
“This details the charges for wastewater and fresh water separately.
“Any customer who has a query about the amount they are paying for their waste water should contact Thames Water directly.”
For further information visit www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk.