Guernsey Water has said it is freezing customers’ water bills for the whole of next year and will take this opportunity to rebalance its water and wastewater charges.
What this actually means for customers is that whilst water charges will be decreasing by around half, waste water charges will almost treble. As most households are subject to paying both the final figure is likely to remain the same.
As it it costs more to provide a waste water service, Guernsey water has said that it will now change its charges to come in line with a 'user pays' strategy and in most cases as people use both services bills will appear frozen.
As an example of a metered customer who is charged quarterly, this year they would have paid £82.97 per quarter for their water and £26.07 per quarter for their waste water, but next year will pay £40.82 per quarter for their water and £68.14 per quarter for their waste water. Using this example the bottom line on the bill (£109.04 in 2018 compared to £108.96 in 2019) will be exactly the same but the way the charges are distributed are changed to reflect the cost of providing a waste water service.
Pictured: Guernsey Water treatment works at Kings Mills.
Since wastewater charges were first introduced in 2011 Guernsey Water said it has developed a better understanding of how much it costs to provide this service. This has shown an imbalance between charges and the cost of removing wastewater and returning it safely to the environment and providing customers with water that is safe and good to drink.
Steve Langlois, general manager of Guernsey Water said: “As a vital public service we believe in being as fair and transparent as we can to all our customers. Therefore our water and wastewater charges should better reflect the cost of providing each service. We are rebalancing our water and wastewater charges next year so that they relate more closely to how much it costs to provide our customers with these services. This will mean reducing water charges and increasing wastewater charges.
“This will be fairer for all our customers because they will pay for the actual services they receive.”
Pictured: Steve Langlois at Guernsey water.
For most of Guernsey Water’s customers the bill will look a little different but they will not see any difference in the total amount they will be paying. However, 135 customers who have their own private water supply currently only pay for a wastewater service. They will therefore see an increase in their bill, as they will not benefit from the reduction in water supply charges.
“We have written to each of these customers explaining the changes we are introducing and have invited them to meet with us to answer any queries they might have,” said Mr Langlois.
Guernsey water said that an effective drainage system is vital to the public health of our island, as without an "efficient, well maintained sewerage system" wastewater would back up, causing foul water flooding of people’s homes, pollution and health issues.
Mr Langlois said: “To protect our environment and prevent these problems involves a lot of resources and significant ongoing investment. We have 4,810 cesspits to empty regularly, more than 150 kilometres of sewer, 66 wastewater pumping stations and our critical wastewater centre at Belle Greve. This is vital infrastructure that we have to operate, maintain and improve round the clock, every day of the year. It costs more to provide our wastewater service than it does to provide water that is safe and good to drink.”
The new water and wastewater charges are going to the States of Guernsey for approval in November and the new charges would apply from 1 January, 2019.
Pictured main image: Steve Langlois, General Manager of Guernsey Water.
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