Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More financial pressure :-(

Homeowners' water bills to DOUBLE in summer amid drought fears... as Britain faces hottest spring for a century Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389890/Homeowners-use-water-summer-hit-charges-200-month--Britain-faces-hottest-spring-cent

Water companies are laying blueprints for the so-called seasonal tariffs which could see household water bills rise by up to £200, the Times reported. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389890/Homeowners-use-water-summer-hit-charges-200-month--Britain-faces-hottest-spring-century.html#ixzz1NFmEFqNU

Posted by happy mondays @ 08:41 AM (2036 views)
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21 thoughts on “More financial pressure :-(

  • I am sure that they use the term Homeowners just to piss me off.

    So how about tenants water bills, this doesn’t apply?

    Reply
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  • More P taking from an essential supplier and we haven’t even gone totally green yet.

    Is there another planet? If there is, we’re not on it.

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  • 1. khards

    We’re exempt from everything else, why not.

    I see large containers sloshing water around and water supplies cut off. 😉

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  • ok, someone explain to me why it was a good idea to privatise the water companies? There’s even less of an argument than maybe you can apply to the privatisation of gas and lecky companies.

    Unless you take the cynical view that it was to push infrastructure costs more equally onto everyone, while giving unfettered (sorry, there’s a regulator — ha!) access to a monopoly market.

    Go on — someone explain why the nationalised industries were worse?

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  • 2. dude said…ok, someone explain to me why it was a good idea to privatise the water companies?

    ~ CONTROL. Don’t you love us moving closer and closer to monopolies, cronyism and green regulations that shut down competition?

    I know some here love it, even invest in it.

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  • 2. dude said …Go on — someone explain why the nationalised industries were worse?

    I don’t know, maybe if governments come across as direct tyrants it doesn’t look so good for votes?

    It’s a long shot. lol

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  • Although I’m sure that these private companies will take every opportunity to turn a larger profit, the Mail was also the only paper (I think) suggesting that the current ash cloud could be worse than the last one.

    Sensationalist scaremongering BS as usual.

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  • If you know that your bills are going to get higher and higher then it’s even more sensible to pay less for your first house.

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  • 3. miken

    Nah, house prices only go up, a bit like an uppercut Harry.

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  • dude,

    The utilities are so heavily regulated that they are basically nationalised anyway. They can’t just hike rates whenever they feel like it – Ofwat have to approve it, and they are quite stern.

    That said, I can’t see a clear case in favour of privatisation. There is a total absence of competition; and TUPE rules and strong unions mean the staff are just as well-protected (and unsackable) as they were before. Only England and Wales have private water companies; Scotland and Northern Ireland’s water & sewerage services are in state hands. There’s little evidence to suggest that conditions are much worse in those parts of the UK. (The heavy snow last winter did cause havoc for Northern Ireland Water, who weren’t prepared for it. However I doubt a privatised company would have fared much better – BAA was similarly ill-prepared for snow at the airports.)

    There is a stronger case for privatisation in gas & electric, since there are more options for competition.

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  • Houses with water meters will become less desirable.

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  • 4. drewster said…dude,

    ‘The utilities are so heavily regulated that they are basically nationalised anyway. They can’t just hike rates whenever they feel like it – Ofwat have to approve it, and they are quite stern.’

    ~ Bit like the FSA. One step forward, three steps back.

    Le Crunch.

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  • drewster,

    thanks for that. I still fail to see the benefits. If you have a monopoly how do you get competition? I’ve always seen utility privatisation as ideological not commercial. After all a ‘traditional’ private company has to win customers, and then keep them. So if I want a phone I have to choose between one or more companies (unless I want an iPhone…). But the bottom line is I can walk away and not have a phone (I’ve chosen not to have an iPhone, whereas my lad has, and his just strengthens my view that I was right!).

    But for water, gas and electric I have no such choice. I have to have them. So that means it’s much easier for a private company to get a customer.

    If I was a bicycle repair shop I can’t assume customers will come to me — I have to win them over. And that’s a totally different kettle of fish. I’m not saying the private sector is bad — far from it; I know only too well how difficult it can be, and the late nights with no extra pay to get a report or proposal out. But that’s my point, I have (as part of a team, admittedly) to work bloody hard sometimes to help win a bid. But not if you’re a water company.

    Worse. If you say you don’t want water (maybe you collect it from your roof) someone will be round like a shot to know why not, and they will force you to pay for water services.

    That’s why I don’t think the private sector should be in the utility business.

    When the water companies were nationalised, if there was a need for investment it came out of government coffers, not individuals. So the net effect was the more you earned the more tax you paid and the more you contributed to the capex costs. But now it’s private that cost is evenly spread. That’s wrong.

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  • 6. dude

    Good questions.

    Personally I think it’s all very dangerous. Sounds a bit like globalism to me.

    Herding cats would be preferable over dogs that roll over too easily.

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  • @dude
    There are good arguments against privatisation. For a start, water is a necessity for life itself and health, so not something that private corporations should be in a position to extract monopoly rents from when there is a shortage… instead you want them to conserve and increase supplies. Even ignoring that, by fragmenting the industry you turn infrastructure that used to exist for the whole organisation into a public good across organisations. You may also introduce duplication of tasks and capacity in different companies that used to be done centrally and so on. It’s not only that there is no economic case for privatisation, there are good economic (and social) reasons why it should never have been privatised. So why did we privatise it? It has nothing to do with the strength of arguments and everything to do with ideology and pandering to corporate power.
    N

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  • I hope that these comments go some way to explain dude.

    ~ The confusion within there, is but the chaos around thee

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  • “Mail: Homeowners’ water bills to DOUBLE in summer amid drought fears”

    Perhaps they will reduce the bills two fold through winter then. Don’t hold your breath.

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  • Drewster,

    ‘staff are just as well-protected (and unsackable)’

    Having worked in the industry for many years, that comment just made me spit my tea out. You could not be more wrong. In fact, what on earth has led you to believe that? Union membership is 50% tops and they have very little power within the industry these days. There aren’t many actual employees left now anyway, everybody has been fired and re-employed as contractors with no protection at all.

    Privitisation brought in lot of cash which was invested in infrasructure. The whole sector is now neck deep in debt with income from customer bills (not quite) matching the running costs & interest payments on the debt (dividends) combined. Land has been sold, pension funds have been raided (& closed) & and contractors now cut each others throats to win 5 year contracts that they know will only keep them solvent for about 18 months. By the time the next major investment in infrstrucure is required, the listed Companies will own nothing but the EA abstraction licenses and debt. At this point, I suspect that the industry will probably be renationalised, and we’ll all have to pay to rebuild it again. Isn’ that the way Privatisation of esential services & infrastructure always works?

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Khards, comment 1 – the MSM do this all the time, they talk about homeowners being burgled, homeowners art risk of being evicted, homeowners being threatened by rising [whatever] bills, higher taxes etc.

    Tenants are apparently not affected by anything bad, or perhaps more to the point, they deserve what they get for not “investing in a stake in society” or something.

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  • dude,

    If you can supply your own water and your own sewerage, then you don’t need to pay bills. There are lots of instances where people have avoided paying a substantial proportion of their sewerage bill because the water goes into their garden, not into the sewer system.
    You do have some choice – you can try to use less water. Using rainwater for gardening is a popular choice (with a water butt). Using no water at all would be very difficult indeed.

    Gas – you don’t need gas piped in, you can heat your home via electricity, or via a physically delivered combustible such as LPG, wood-burning stove, coal fire, oil, etc. Or even geothermal energy, if you’re rich enough.

    Electricity – bit more tricky to live without. You could buy a microgeneration unit (about the size of a fridge) which will burn your gas supply and turn it into electricity in the house – the Baxi Ecogen is currently available in the UK for around £7,000. Catch-22, of course.

    @ticktock,
    Union membership at 50% is very high compared to most private-sector companies.
    You’re spot-on right about the rest, sadly. Britain was one of the first countries to embark on large-scale privatisation. Deficiencies in infrastructure are manifesting themselves here first. No surprise.

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  • @ ticktock,

    Thinking about it some more, do this mean the government will “do a railtrack” to the water companies? I just can’t see it happening, not when they have the option of raising water prices instead.

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