Croydon, Merton, Sutton and Surrey residents face water price hike despite doubled profits at Sutton and East Surrey Water
Residents are set to face a hike in their water bill despite the company nearly doubling its profits last year.
Sutton and East Surrey Water supplies to 265,000 homes and 17,000 businesses across Merton, Croydon and Sutton, as well as East Surrey and parts of Kent and Sussex.
Last year the company increased its profit after tax from £2.2m to £5.1m and as part of its draft business plan for 2015-2020, has mooted the idea of a £7 bill increase per annual bill by 2020.
The company's chief executive Anthony Ferrar, who last year earned nearly £400k including pension contributions, last week addressed Merton councillors on the plans.
Mr Ferrar told members of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel the price increase would pay to help reduce leakage, fit more water meters and introduce a social tariff to help those in financial difficulty.
Councillors were aghast at hearing how the company loses 15 per cent of the water it supplies every day through leaking pipes - the equivalent of almost ten Olympic sized swimming pools.
David Dean, Conservative councillor for the Dundonald ward, told the water company representatives; "I don't know of any other business who could afford to waste 15 per cent of its product every day. You must become more efficient."
After the meeting, Coun Dean said: "Utility companies have a monopoly, they have no competition and the market isn't changing. I would oppose any increase in bills. They must use better technology to become more efficient and give better value to customers who have no choice but to use them."
Company director Lester Sonden defended the company saying that as a result of the Gray review into water regulator Ofwat in 2011; "The world has changed, companies are putting greater emphasis on customers under fewer regulatory constraints."
On top of the £7 hike, Mr Ferrar and Sonden told the meeting, that an extra £2 on top of the £7 could be used to help those in financial difficulty.
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