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SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE PLC NEWS ARTICLE

21/02/06 - South Staffordshire Water bills 25% less than national average

A press notice published today by the water regulator, Ofwat, has confirmed that customers of South Staffordshire Water will receive average water bills in the coming weeks that are 25% (£36) lower than the national average.

This will come as some relief to customers who are seeing dramatic rises in their gas and electricity bills.

The average household water charge in the South Staffordshire water supply area is rising by just £5 to £106. The national average is rising by £7 to £142. In many areas of the country the average bill is approaching £170.

Rachel Barber, Director of Customer Services at South Staffordshire Water commented "The fact that customer's water bills are much lower in this area reflects the fact that we now run very efficient operations and are prudent with our spending proposals. Customer feedback confirms they appreciate the value for money for their water service". She added "We work hard to keep our bills low but we also recognise that some customers may be in financial hardship and could be struggling to pay their bills. For such customers we urge them to contact the Company immediately to discuss the variety of payment options available rather than wait for debt levels to rise".

Note to editors:

1. South Staffordshire Water serves large parts of the Black Country, including Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley, together with areas such as Tamworth, Burton, Lichfield, Sutton Coldfield and Cannock. In total, the Company serves a population of 1.2 million. The Company supplies 330 million litres of water every day across a network of pipes that total 6,000 km in length.

2. The Ofwat press notice which confirms average bills at each company for 2006-07 is available today from the Ofwat website: www.ofwat.gov.uk

3. Customers of South Staffordshire Water receive a combined water and sewerage bill, with sewerage charges collected on behalf of Severn Trent Water. The average combined annual bill for South Staffordshire Water customers is £238 (split £106 water, £132 sewerage). This compares to a national average of £294 (split £142 water, £152 sewerage). Hence the combined bill in the South Staffs area is ££6, 19% lower than the national average.

4. An average household bill of £106 equates to 29 pence a day for the average family. An average household uses over 350 litres of water a day.

5. The South Staffordshire supply area is as follows:

South Staffs Water supply area

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