Southern Water has announced a near ten per cent leap in water bills.

The company said it was increasing householders' bills in line with inflation.

The Argus: Southern Water headquarters in WorthingSouthern Water headquarters in Worthing

Dual service customers, who receive both water and sewerage services from Southern Water, can expect an increase of 9.4 per cent on their charges.

With the average annual bill currently at £401, that means a rise to £439 based on these increases.

Water-only bills will go up by nine per cent and waste-only by 9.7 per cent. 

Katy Taylor, Southern Water's chief customer officer, said: "The rise this year reflects the growing economic pressures of chemical, energy and wage inflation.

"We are aware that the UK's cost of living crisis is a worry for many of our customers and this is why plans to increase tariffs are never taken lightly.

“We are channelling more money than ever before into supporting customers in need, particularly those who may struggle to pay their bills."

The Argus: The average cost of a household bill will rise by £38The average cost of a household bill will rise by £38

Southern Water has set up a £98 million support package for customers in need, discounting bills and offering grants.

Ms Taylor said: "This £98 million will boost the support package we already offer customers including payment holidays, special tariffs, debt write-offs, bill reductions and grants for household items.

“If you know anyone who is finding it hard to pay their bills, please encourage them to get in touch with us as we can help.”

Southern Water said it has "worked hard to keep bills as low as possible in recent years".

A spokesman said: "In real terms, the 2023-24 average bill is still 12.5 per cent lower than four years ago, and our annual bill changes have been below inflation throughout that period, decreasing in two of those years.

"Last year’s average dual bill of £401 was four per cent lower than the industry average of £419."