Warrington-based water giant United Utilities has promised it will not increase average household bills in 2022-23 despite rapidly rising inflation.
The vow came as United Utilities announced results for the year to March 31, 2022, showing reported profit before tax fell £111 million to £440 million as revenue increased £55 million to £1.863 billion.
Net debt at March 31 was £7.570 billion, up from £7.306 billion. Total dividend will rise to 43.50p from 43.24p.
The company’s shares fell about 4% to £10.64 to give the FTSE 100 company a stock market value of about £7.3 billion.
United Utilities CEO Steve Mogford said: “We are very conscious of our responsibility to support customers at a time when households are seeing significant rises in the cost of living.
“Despite the high levels of inflation, we expect no increase in average household water bills in our region in the coming financial year and we are offering more financial support to customers in need than ever before.
“We are a leading supporter of the Consumer Council for Water’s drive for a national social tariff and believe the right support should be provided to customers who struggle to pay their bill regardless of where they live in the country.
“We take our role in the North West very seriously, and firmly believe that responsibly sharing our successes is the right thing to do for all our stakeholders.
“Our improving performance together with an environment of higher inflation is yielding a greater level of outperformance, and so we will be investing an additional £400 million to improve the service we provide to customers and to accelerate the delivery of environmental outcomes.
“We recently published our river revival plan which progressively reduces the impact our operations have on river health.
“Our four-point strategy details how we will work with others to transform the rivers and waterways across our region.”