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Severn Trent hails 'lowest bills' as turnover rises

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

Water giant Severn Trent has said its customers are paying the lowest bills in England and Wales as it revealed half year turnover rose £30.4 million to £850.4m in the first half of its financial year.

That 3.7% rise came in the six months to the end of September as underlying pre-tax profits went up £12.1m, or 4.4%, to £287.8m.

The company, providing water across the West Midlands. Staffordshire and Shropshire, said services had improved with a 48% cut in flooding.

At the same time its average bills were £32 a year less than the next cheapest in England and Wales.

It spent £324 million in improving its network, part of a £3 billion programme.

Chief executive Liv Garfield also announced plans to start selling off Severn Trent land that had become available 'through operational efficiency'. This surplus land would see 1,000 homes built by 2020 – selling the land for housing should prove highly lucrative for the water company, which says it will use the money in part to help keep bills lower in the future.

Mrs Garfield said: "Our customer-first approach is delivering positive results. It is also clear in today's society that businesses, including the water sector, are under increasing scrutiny and greater pressure to explain their contribution to society beyond financial profit.

"We need to make sure our decisions strike the right balance between all of our stakeholders and show we run our business in a sustainable and responsible way.

"As a result of the hard work of everyone at Severn Trent and their focus on the areas that are most important to our customers, we've reduced total sewer floodings by 48%."

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Severn Trent has more than eight million customers across the Midlands and Wales, including in Stafford, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Shropshire, and delivers around 2 billion litres of water a day. It also provides sewerage services to around 1.3 million people across Cannock to Stourbridge and West Bromwich who get their water from smaller Walsall-based rival South Staffs Water. Group results from continuing operations

Among the other statistics released today, Severn Trent said it had cut four million litres a day from its leakage figures and complaints about water quality were down 12%.

Sarah Bentley, Chief Customer Officer at Severn Trent, said: “We’re really proud of the results we’ve announced today. Our teams have worked incredibly hard to make improvements that matter most to our customers such as reducing sewer flooding and leakage, while continuing to offer the lowest average combined bills in Britain at under £1 a day“.

“We are also pleased to be offering support to 50,000 of our most vulnerable customers.

“We know there’s always more to do though and our teams are really energised about delivering even more for our customers in the future.”

Recent announcements by Severn Trent also confirmed its plans to reduce its impact on the environment. The company revealed in today’s figures that it is now self-producing the equivalent of 38% of the energy it uses from renewable sources, and that it plans to replace its fleet of vans with alternative fuel vehicles when feasible."

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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