The Times features comment from Richard Wellings

An above-inflation increase in water bills announced yesterday means that householders will have to find an extra £120 on average to pay their utility bills.

Rising water bills follow increases of nearly 9 per cent in energy charges. Since early autumn, average gas bills have gone up by £60 a year and electricity bills by £41 a year.

Households will pay an average of £388 for their water from April this year to March 2014, 0.5 per cent above the rate of inflation.

Richard Wellings, deputy editorial director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “Over-regulation is the main factor driving up prices. Ever-increasing environmental and water quality standards, many resulting from EU directives, have forced companies to invest tens of billions in new infrastructure and pass on the cost to consumers.

“The Government should take a new approach to the water sector that focuses on keeping bills down. It should end the obsession with ever-increasing water quality and environmental standards and exert pressure on EU policymakers to do likewise. Removing barriers to competition in the water industry would also help consumers.”

Read the full article here (£).