The plans indicate that the average bill in England and Wales will increase from £240 in 2004/05 to £310 in 2009/10 (see table). Although this is slightly below the 31% increase in draft plans submitted last year, the investment programme has actually risen from £21 billion to £22 billion.
Some of this increase has been necessitated by most companies' failure to include essential environmental schemes in their draft plans.
The slight change in average bills hides substantial changes to some companies' plans:
The company's final plan reveals that it has to expand its environmental programme, provide water and sewerage services to two new towns in Devon, and increase provision for customers opting for water meters and for bad debt.
Major savings have been made in the company's environment and quality programme, cut from £2.2 billion to £1.5 billion.
Anglian now has the lowest projected rise of all companies of 17%. Its average bill in 2009/10 has been cut from £379 to £331.