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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006, 20:50 GMT 21:50 UK
Watchdog wants water bill review
Northumbrian Water announced there would be no water restrictions
An industry watchdog is asking a water company to moderate future increases after reporting a 35% rise in profits.

Northumbrian Water which serves Suffolk and Essex announced profits of 130.3m helped by a 10% increase in bills.

The Consumer Council for Water Eastern said: "Customers are understandably asking questions about whether their bills have increased too much."

John Devall, director for Northumbrian Water told BBC News that "at the right time we will review our price rises".

'Significant increases'

The Consumer Council for Water Eastern (CCWater), an industry watchdog, has now asked Northumbrian Water to consider not taking up the full amount of the price increases allowed by Ofwat from next April.

This comes a week after it backed customers questioning rises in Anglian Water bills.

The council chairman Catherine Harvey said: "We're pleased to see that Essex and Suffolk Water has no current plans to introduce any water restrictions in 2006.

"However, consumers in the region have seen significant increases in their water bills over the recent years.

"Essex and Suffolk Water customers want to see value for money," she added.

'Customers benefit'

However Mr Devall said: "We invested about 212m for the whole of the Northumbrian area and we had to borrow double the amount we invested.

"Customers do see the benefits of this investment.

"Leakages are the lowest in the country and there are no water restrictions.

"We are only in the first year of the five year period set by Ofwat and we are in line with what Ofwat expects," he added.

Northumbrian Water serves about 1.7m customers in Essex and Suffolk.

CCWater Eastern represents consumers of Anglian Water, Cambridge Water, Essex and Suffolk Water and Tendring Hundred Water.

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