2024 water charges confirmed
Water bills are set to rise by between £5 and £7 a month next year as Guernsey Water looks to continue investment in maintaining the island's network.
The annual increase, from 1 January, will see bills for metered customers rise by around 11%, and for unmetered customers by around 12%. Since 2018 water and wastewater charges have increased by less than inflation.
Guernsey Water managing director, Steve Langlois, said the utility had borne significantly higher costs in the past two years due to external factors. Increases in the cost of engineering and construction had been particularly acute, but the utility had continued to invest in infrastructure that customers will rely on for many years to come.
Even 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.
Mr Langlois said: "We look after a vast network, comprising 14 reservoirs, more than 500 km 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. 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.
"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."
The cesspit emptying charge will increase from £7.83 per load to £9.09. This charge now covers 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. 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."
Guernsey Water's 2024 budget includes £7.7m of capital investment in the network and other infrastructure.
During 2023, major investment in the renewal of St Saviour's water treatment works continued, and the largest ever overhaul of Forest Road treated water reservoir got underway.
"These assets have served our community for generations, and their renovation will ensure they continue delivering for decades to come.
The work at St Saviour's water treatment works is one of the most complex building projects taking place on the island. Completing projects like this whilst continuing to supply high quality drinking water is a major challenge.
"Where possible we use local contractors to work with our own technicians, so these projects are not just necessary for island life, they're investing in and helping to sustain the island's economy and the livelihoods of hundreds of people.
Both projects will continue next year, before being completed in 2025.
Anyone concerned about how the charges will impact them is asked to call Guernsey Water on 229500.