NORTHUMBRIAN Water has been told by water regular Ofwat that its plan to cut bills and reduce leakage for the next five years is not good enough.

The regulator announced last week only three of the 17 water companies in England and Wales had offered satisfactory plans for the 2020-25 period – and Northumbrian Water wasn’t one of them.

The water body unveiled its plan last year, saying that it would reduce bills by around 10 per cent, saving households £40 a year.

It also outlined plans to invest £3bn on improving water services in the region and said it wanted the North-East to boast the best rivers and beaches in the country through a range of environmental schemes.

But Ofwat rejected Northumbrian Water’s plan and told the company further work on their five-year plan was required.

A report of the plan said: “Northumbrian Water has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it has tested multiple bills profiles with customers beyond 2025.”

Ofwat chief executive, Rachel Fletcher added: “We’re seeing an increased focus on the things closest to people’s hearts such as keeping bills affordable, cutting leakage, protecting the environment and helping those most in need.

“Three companies have already stepped up to the mark with high quality plans and stretching commitments to customers for the next five years.

“The rest of the sector now needs to meet this high standard so that customers across the country get better and more efficient services.”

In response to the decision, Northumbrian Water Group chief executive Heidi Mottram said: “We’re incredibly proud of our plan and grateful to all of the people, particularly our customers, who helped us create it.

“We are pleased to see that Ofwat has commended us for our plans in many critical areas that our customers have said are so important to them. This includes us being the sector-leading company in relation to proposed bill reductions, and our innovative approach in engaging our customers.

“We will continue to work closely with Ofwat, our customers, our partners and our stakeholders to understand the challenges that Ofwat have posed over the coming months.”