United Utilities pledges to cut bills and halt leaks

Reservoirs across Lancashire ran dry this summer
Reservoirs across Lancashire ran dry this summer
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United Utilities has pledged to slash bills and tackle leaks as part of fresh business plans.

United Utilities, which provides Lancashire's water, said it would cut average bills by 10.5 per cent in real terms between 2020 and 2025, amounting to a reduction of £45 per customer.

The firm also said it will invest £750 million in delivering a "major water resilience scheme" for customers in Manchester and the Pennines.

The company will aim to deliver a 15 per cent reduction in leaks by 2025, according to its five-year business plan released to regulator Ofwat.

Customers in Lancashire were recently threatened with a hosepipe ban as reservoirs ran dry, and the firm was criticised after it was revealed that it loses 430m litres of water a day in leaks.

READ MORE: United Utilities loses more than 430m litres of water a day in leaks
As part of Ofwat's 2019 price review, water companies are required to outline a detailed business plan, demonstrating how they will meet the needs of their customers from 2020 to 2025.

United Utilities boss Steve Mogford said: "We are cutting bills such that they will be lower in real terms in 2025 than they were 15 years ago, whilst also delivering higher standards of service, increasing resilience, delivering innovation and investing for the long-term."

The utilities firm also said it will reduce capital expenditure by over £1 billion to £5.4 billion from 2020 to 2025.

The water regulator will assess the business plans and publish its findings in January.

Ofwat senior director John Russell said: "We've reached a key milestone in our price review process.

"From now until January 2019, we'll pore over each and every business plan and we'll be looking for evidence that they are robust, ambitious and, crucially, that they have been shaped by customers.

"All companies have had an opportunity to develop high-quality plans, but where plans aren't sufficiently ambitious or stretching, we'll step in to protect customers and the environment."