‘Research leaflet’ outlines Southern Water bill hike options

Southern Water

A Southern Water leaflet outlining possible bill rises for customers of more than 70% between now and 2030 are not set, says the water company, but options being explored as part of a wider programme of research.

The rises, set out on a focus group leaflet, show an option of rises from £439 for the 2023/24 year increasing up to £759 by 2030. That figure includes £187 for investment required by regulators in Southern Water infrastructure and an additional £10 for further investments plus £82 factored in for inflation.

The leaflet does not show the minimum discount of at least 45% which would still be applied to customers on the Essentials Tariff, supporting those in financial hardship.

Feargal Sharkey and Jenny Jones Photo Steven Collis

Clean water campaigner Feargal Sharkey, who visited Ramsgate in February along with  Green Party peer Jenny Jones, reacted to the news, saying: “Ofwat and water companies

confirmed, we have already paid all of the money needed to fix the sewage system We should not have to pay twice for a service we never received, Water companies’ shareholders should pay.”

Photo Ciaran McCrickard / Southern Water –

Katy Taylor, Chief Customer Officer, said: “We regularly listen to the views of customers from across our region when we plan future investment in our network, and we discuss the possible impacts on bills.

“We know our communities want to see us investing to improve our environmental outcomes and to do it wisely, but we also recognise the concerns about rising payments in the face of a cost of living crisis. This is why it is important we work together with our communities, in finding the right balance.

“We continue to support customers who need help to pay their bills, with a minimum 45% discount offered to around 125,000 households.”

A Water UK spokesperson said: “Companies regularly test a wide range of proposals with their customers that combine different investment ideas. This is one such example. Consultation with customers is used to shape final plans and companies will be releasing more information on bills and investment later this year.”

Tim McMahon

In March this year Southern Water director Tim McMahon told Thanet councillors that price review plans that include future investment will be submitted with the water regulator by this Autumn and those proposals will be confirmed by 2024. He said it is likely that work will include a mains replacement programme, plans for water recycling systems as well as the pledge to cut discharges by 2030.

Discharges, meanwhile, continue with a release from the Broadstairs Short Sea outfall pipe on Sunday night lasting for one hour and 29 minutes, affecting water quality at Botany and Joss bays.

Southern Water will submit a proposal for its 2025-2030 business plan to regulator Ofwat in October 2023, before a final plan is agreed in December 2024.


  1. I’d love to know how much water Thanet Earth uses as a proportion of all water supplied to Thanet. Is that something you can research as an FOI request? And if there is a water shortage are the residents secondary to the needs of business?

  2. So we’re not already paying them enough to dump sewage all along our coast? This company is a joke. They’re been paying out bonuses to shareholders and executives for years whilst failing to re-invest into the infrastructure. That company should be struck off and all the execs and management banged up. Absolute scum.

  3. It’s outrageous that consumers should bear the cost of SW’s neglect of investment in infrastructure over the 30 plus years they’ve been privatised. Before consumers, shareholders should have their dividends taken away, followed by the obscene salaries of the directors etc. of the water companies, or even better still the profit motive should be completely taken out of the provision of a commodity which is so essential to life, and water should be provided as a nationalised service.

  4. Why increase our water bills when they haven’t used up all the money they pay in dividends to shareholders and well-bonussed managers?
    Once they have used up all that money ,if we still need to spend more to improve the water and sewerage systems, well, maybe they could ask for more from the customers . Though we could still make the improvements by using central government money drawn from general taxation, especially if we had a fairer taxation system that taxed those with the most money rather than allowing the wealthy to use tax-havens.
    It occurs to me that the water companies would be a very poor investment choice if they actually did their job. Because ,if they actually stopped all the sewage discharges, AND prepared for future droughts, they wouldn’t have much cash left over to pay the shareholders! Decisions, decisions!!?? Do they spend their money on improving our dilapidated water and sewerage services or do they pay big money to shareholders? I think we know the answer!

  5. Is there an, “Only employ people who personally dig holes, get their hands dirty and mend leaks”, option?
    Otherwise, the papershuffling, numbercrunching, public relations smarm merchants can get f*****!
    Once they’ve all sacked themselves for incompetence & institutional embezzlement.🤬

  6. Southern Water was fined a record £90M two years ago. Why can’t this amount be compulsorily invested in improvements or shared between customers.

  7. Southern Water have to be joking!

    They already had tax payers money via the government to improve the water systems when they were took private. They decided they would rather put that in there pockets. Now the system is at breaking point through no investment they want us to pay again.

    You can go and f**K yourselves Southern Water, your management is a disgrace, how they can even think they can do this is beying the joke.

  8. this has been a while in the making , thatcher and reagan were looking into ways to control water and its price , they know we have no other option and it will go the same way as gas and electric , its another capalitist way of doing things – ie robbing us !!

    • TDC isn’t a “large company”.
      It’s a Local Authority.
      And, unlike a private enterprise such as Soutern Water, all its revenue pays for services, rather than dividends.

      • And multiple golden handshakes/shakedowns to dubious senior officers withe dubious connections to the likes of Leaders Romans, the housebuilders’ lobby group. Amongst others. Check out all the Council Officers and their connections on Linkedin. It’s an eye opener!

      • Oh thank you for correcting me Andrew, most sensible people would know exactly what I meant. Have a nice day.

  9. So,the public have to foot the bill, for the inefficiency of the company, for all the executives pay rises, and the share holders dividends. I would love to know, why Southern Water cannot, freeze the executives pay and not pay dividends for a few years to the share holders, who, I expect are the executives of the company, and freeze the cost of the Bill’s.

  10. They are very efficient in turning our money into dividends and bonuses,and no amount of photo shopping is going to stop the two functionaries shown from looking like smug blighters.
    If they were as good as treating sewage as they are in recycling our cash into benefits for them,I would not mind so much.
    They must know that how unpopular they are,or do they believe their own propaganda?

  11. Several weeks ago SWA repaired a massive water leak in Margate Road, Ramsgate, near the junction with Clements Road (viaduct end) and guess what, they created another leak from a valve! Its been leaking gallons every minute, into a drain Duurh! I have given up trying to get SWA to repair leaks, one that froze over at a bus stop this winter, had to have salt/grit put down by TDC before someone slipped and ended up with a broken hip, or worse! I have reported it 3 times to SWA, again Duuurh!

  12. “The banking firm that owns Southern Water has recorded a £4bn profit. The Guardian reports that Australia-based Macquarie Bank posted an annual net profit of A$5.18bn (£4bn), up 10 per cent from last year. Analysts were expecting profits of A$4.96bn for the year to 31 March 2023, the newspaper reported.”

    More big bonuses for the top brass by the looks & price hikes for the consumer – needs to be looked at in depth by the ombudsman and at high level Government but then top Tories most probably have secret shares somewhere so turn a blind eye – Everything seems to be corrupt to the core these days.

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