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Water and waste costs going up, up, up!

Water and waste costs going up, up, up!

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Water and waste costs going up, up, up!

Tuesday 19 December 2023

As we head into 2024, new recycling charges are coming in, bin sticker and collection charges are going up and Guernsey Water, waste water and cess pit collection bills are all set to rise too.

Metered and unmetered Guernsey Water customers will pay around 11% and around 12% more respectively, following six years of below inflation water bill increases, the company has said.

That will equate to increases of between £5 and £7 a month next year with the utility saying it will spend the extra revenue on "investment in maintaining the island’s network".

Managing Director, Steve Langlois, said the firm had borne significantly higher costs over the past two years due to external factors but that maintenance investment is still needed.

“We look after a vast network, comprising 14 reservoirs, more than 500km of underground water pipes, two treated water reservoirs, three water treatment works, over 300 km of drainage pipes, 58 pumping stations and a wastewater centre," he explained. "We also serve over 5,000 cesspit customers using States Works’ fleet of 41 tankers. This is some of the island’s most critical infrastructure that must provide 24/7 services, 365 days a year."

Steve Langlois Guernsey Water launches wastewater campaign

Pictured: Steve Langlois, Managing Director of Guernsey Water.

“It requires continual investment to maintain, renew and where necessary improve these essential facilities. All these assets require replacement over time, and for that we must continually look many years ahead. Unfortunately, the cost of that has risen enormously over the past two years, for reasons that are outside of our control.”

With the annual increase, water and wastewater charges combined will be on average £1.49 for metered customers, and £2.17 per day for unmetered customers while the cesspit emptying charge will go up from £7.83 per load to £9.09.

Guernsey Water said that will cover less than a third of the cost of the service, with the balance coming from wastewater charges that are paid by all customers.

“As well as applying an annual increase, the rise in the cesspit charge will start to rebalance the cost of the service," said Mr Langlois.

"Our aim is to reduce the cost covered by the wastewater charge to two thirds, which was agreed when it was introduced. Delivering the service efficiently will also help. We are working closely with States Works, our service provider on this. The first step, which has now been completed, was replacing the legacy system that was being used to manage the service. Looking forward we plan to use the new system to improve communication and reduce the number of unrequired visits to customers’ homes.”

longue hougue waste transfer station

Pictured: New charges are coming in at Longue Hougue.

On top of water charges which all households face, there'll be new charges at the waste transfer station at Longue Hougue from January when it will start to cost £30 per unit when dropping off old fridges, freezers, and other cooling equipment.

It will cost £20 for washing machines, dishwashers and tumble driers to be dropped off and TVs and computer monitors will cost £10.

None of these items used to have a fee attached but they, and construction materials such as plasterboard (at £3.59 per 90 litre bag) and large quantities of ‘inert waste’, are being brought into the charges to reflect the cost of processing them, said Guernsey Waste. 

The new charges are expected to raise around £150,000 per year, which will help reduce the taxpayer funding required for waste services, but it's also claimed that most residents won't need to pay these fees anytime soon due to how rarely they are replaced in most homes. The cost of dumping one of these items will also be only a fraction of the cost involved in buying their replacement. 

Guernsey Waste Operations Manager, Sarah Robinson, said the targeted charges reflected the user pays approach that the States decided to go for when the current system was brought in a few years ago. 

“These are not everyday purchases for most people," she said. "However, the way waste services are currently funded, when someone buys a new fridge or TV, the cost of recycling their old one has to be met by everyone, and that isn’t particularly fair.

“If someone is spending several hundred pounds on a new appliance, we think it is reasonable they contribute to the cost of dealing with their old one. The charge is likely to represent a very small proportion of their total outlay and will reduce the funding which the taxpayer is currently having to provide.”

These new charges have been brought in to try and cover the cost of services provided at the Longue Hougue site, with Guernsey Waste forecast to have an operating deficit of around £500,000 next year.

To help counteract that deficit, black bag stickers are going up by 15p each to £3.22 for a 90l bag while the annual waste collection charge will go up by £5 per household to £107.97. Parish rates remain charged separately on top of this.


Water charges to rise in 2021

Water and wastewater charges go up

Guernsey Water 'rebalances' its bills for 2019

Waste export contract up for grabs

Different waste charges investigated 

Waste charge increase is on the table

Mismanaging residential waste amounts to "anti-social behaviour"

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