Welsh Water has blamed a “significant” inflation rate rise for its own price hike as the cost-of-living crisis worsens.
The comapny said “most household customers” will see an increase of between 3.8% and 6.6% from the start of April.
Welsh Water’s chief financial officer, Mike Davis, said: “We would encourage all customers who are struggling to make ends meet at this difficult time to contact us”.
Chairman of the Consumer Council for Wales, Rhodri Williams, urged customers to “ask for help now” and said they could save hundreds of pounds if they switched to a water meter.
Dr Steffan Evans from the Bevan Foundation said of the cost-of-living crisis: “I doesn’t matter how well-off you are, you’re going to notice an increase of this scale on your wallet.
“But for people on the lowest incomes who already don’t really have much wriggle-room in their budgets, this increase is going to be devastating and it is going to force people to make those difficult decisions about, do they heat their homes or feed their children”.
The water bill rise comes just a day after it was revealed heating bills will increase by an average of almost £700 a year for over 20 million households across the UK.
Joe Malinowski, the founder of The Energy Shop price comparison website, commented: “It’s terrible news all round. It’s going to make energy simply unaffordable not for just a few, but many, if not most consumers.
“To put this into context, the increase across the 22 million households that it will affect is over £15 billion in one fell swoop”.
A significant reason behind price rises is the increase in wholesale energy prices, with a boom in global demand over the past year or so.
In response to yesterday’s news, Chancellor Rishi Sunak offered a £350 package of measures to try to ease the worst of the impact.
That includes a £200 refund on energy bills, to be paid back by people over the next five years.
Speaking this morning, UK Energy Minister Greg Hands said the government could go further if energy prices rise again in the autumn.
He said: “It is my job to make sure the country is prepared on all things related to energy. It’s not my job to make energy price forecasts for the future.
“Energy prices have been elevated for the last nine months or so. They’ve also been very volatile in that time”.
Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis predicted further rises to come: “I have to tell you, if wholesale rates don’t drop on 1st October, I’m expecting to see another 20% rise”.