Water boards profit from too-high bills

Consumers’ annual water bills are around €25 too high because publically-owned water firms are booking excessive profits and paying out too much to shareholders, reports Wednesday’s Volkskrant.

Water firms booked a 30% rise in profits last year to €242m and paid out 30% (€67m) more in shareholders’ dividends, according to a survey by the consumers association, the home-owners organisation and the lobby group for commercial water users.
Rotterdam’s Evides made by far the biggest profit, earning €119m. And its two top executives saw their incomes rise 10% in 2006 to an average €210,000.
A majority of MPs want the government to put restraints on the amount of profit the water firms are allowed to make, says the Volkskrant.
‘It is incomprehensible that that the government lets the water companies do what they want,’ a consumer association spokeswoman told the paper. The organisations want an independent regulator for water tariffs.
Meanwhile the environment minister is talking to the water companies about their profit levels, says the paper.

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