WATER bills in Huntingdonshire are set to increase after both Anglian and Cambridge Water announced an average rise of 2.8 per cent.

The increase is below the national average of 3.5 per cent, but Anglian Water customers will see the average annual combined bill for water and sewerage services go up £12 to £434.

The Huntingdon-based company said that the typical rise would be four per cent but it is expecting a high number of customers to switch to a meter, reducing their overall bill and reducing the average increase to 2.8 per cent.

Anglian Water said last week that the current average annual charge for metered customers was £382.63 compared to £522.45 for unmetered customers.

Cambridge Water, a water only company, has frozen the fixed prices that metered customers pay but it has increased other charges by an average of £4 bringing the 2013/14 total bill to £130.

Martyn Oakley, Anglian Water's customer services director, said that metered customers would see more of an increase than those without water meters.

“The real winners this year will be those customers who make the switch from an unmeasured bill to a water meter,” Mr Oakley said. “For those already on a meter or who stick with bills tied to the old rateable value of their home, the rise will be about four per cent, although customers with a meter will see smaller rises than those without.

“This rise is mainly due to inflation which was at three per cent when bills were calculated.

“The remaining one per cent is to help pay for Anglian Water's investment programme which this year will be £466million. That investment will allow us to maintain and improve our essential equipment above and below ground, support growth and recovery in these tough economic times and protect our environment against the impacts of climate change.”

Steve Morley, regulation director and head of compliance at Cambridge Water, said: “In setting the prices for 2013 to 2014 we have been mindful of two things. We want to keep any price rises to a minimum so they are in-line with inflation.

The average water bill will increase by just £4 over the course of the year meaning customers will continue to benefit from the second lowest water charges in the country.”

Cambridge Water is investing in a £3m treatment plant at one of its pumping stations and continues its investment in reducing leakage.