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Cool summer helps Anglian Water's revenues rise

PUBLISHED: 13:33 29 May 2015 | UPDATED: 20:55 29 May 2015

Peter Simpson, managing director of Anglian Water, for EDP Business Awards 2013

Peter Simpson, managing director of Anglian Water, for EDP Business Awards 2013

Archant

Anglian Water has a recorded a marginal rise in revenues as fewer people turned on their taps during first half of last year.

Demand for water dipped during a wet spring and a cool summer, offsetting an inflationary price rise of 2.6pc and helping revenues increase 2.5pc to £1,244.3m to the end of March 2015.

But underlying operating profit fell 3.5pc to £452.6m on the back of rising operating costs – up 7.9pc to £523.9m – which was partly caused by an increase in the amount of money spent on minor repairs to water leaks.

The Huntingdon-based firm said its decision not to pass on a full regulatory price increase meant overall customer bills had been reduced by £10m.

It comes after it pledged earlier this year to cut prices, with customers’ annual bill set to drop by an average of £29 – a 7pc saving which, Anglian Water claimed, would outstrip other UK water providers.

The reduction in bills is part of its five year business plan to 2020 which was agreed by Ofwat in January this year.

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water Group, said: “In 2014/15, the final year of AMP5, we invested £439m in essential services, maintaining and developing our networks, and running our business. This is in the context of our £2.1bn investment programme since 2010.”

“Even in advance of the price cut which will take effect for 2015/16, we recognised the significant pressures that household budgets are under,” he added. “That is why we took the decision to not implement the full rise in bills in 2014/15 that had been previously agreed by our Regulator, Ofwat. This saved around £4 on the average annual household bill.”

“The significant efficiencies we’ve achieved during AMP5 mean we’ve been able to reinvest £235 million in the business, as well as deliver the largest percentage drop in average household bills in AMP6,” he said. “We’ve been able to offset cost pressures associated with known but unfunded costs such as the adoption of private sewers, and unknown costs such as those associated with drought and flooding, without any incremental impact on customer bills.”

Despite a fall in operating profits, underlying pre-tax profits grew £14.1m to £182m, while the interim dividends paid throughout the year reduced from £394.4m to £372.5m.

Meanwhile, bad debt for the period rose slightly to £33.1m, compared to £32.4m the year before.

In April, Anglian Water was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development.

• Do you have a business story for the Eastern Daily Press? Contact business editor Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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