THOUSANDS of residents are set to see their water bills tumble by more than seven per cent this year.
Around 700,000 household customers of South West Water will find a new item called Government Contribution on their bills confirming a £50 annual reduction will be applied from this April.
This flat rate deduction, a pledge within the coalition's original working agreement, will be paid every year to 2020 and means the average annual household bill for water and sewerage in South West Water's service area will fall by 7.3 per cent to £499 at a time when water and energy bills elsewhere are still rising.
Around 13,000 customers switching to a meter are also forecast to reduce their bills by an average of between £300 and £400 this year.
Exact charges paid by customers will vary according to the services they use, their tariff, the rateable value of their property or the amount of water they use. South West Water has also pledged to spend £460,000 per day will be spent on improving the region's vital water and sewerage infrastructure.
The company confirmed its £168m investment and charges package for 2013/14 – part of a £700m plus programme between 2010 and 2015 which supports 4,500 jobs in the wider, regional economy.
South West Water chief executive Chris Loughlin said: "It's vital we continue to invest because having up-to-date water and sewerage infrastructure is just as important as good rail and road links and high speed broadband.
"We know what we do underpins the quality of life we all enjoy in the South West and also helps local businesses grow.
"We know the cost in the past of modernising particularly our sewerage network has been high for customers which is why we are particularly pleased the £50 reduction will be implemented from this year onward."
Mr Loughlin thanked the Government and Defra, MPs of all parties, the Consumer Council for Water, pensioner groups and the regional media for helping to make the reduction a reality. He said: "With thousands of individual customers helped build a successful case for the region alongside us over many years. Household customers will have the reduction automatically and clearly applied to their bills.
"They need take no action, just look out for the line Government Contribution on your bill during 2013/14."