WATER bills for people across Somerset will go DOWN next year, Wessex Water has pledged.

The company has revealed a series of promises to its 2.5million customers in its business plan for 2020-2025.

As well as lower bills - down six per cent and "staying low until at least 2025", there will be:

*more support for people on low incomes, which sees some customers paying 90 per cent less for their water;

*no-one will have to ration water based on ability to pay;

*investment in services will rise;

*and efficiency will be increased.

Outlining the company's five-year plan at the Cooper Associates County Ground this week, directors referred to the mantra of Francis Yeoh, chairman of YTL, Wessex's parent company.

Mr Yeoh says: "Performance before profits; you need to earn the right to profits by being the best."

Other issues in a business plan report include a commitment to protect the environment by becoming carbon neutral by 2030, working with customers to avoid pollution and sewer flooding and working with farmers to reduce the amount of phosphorous leaking into watercourses.

While water leakage in the Wessex region is down 62 per cent from its 1995 peak and pollution incidents are also down, the company says it wants to do even better.

And it is spending £1.4billion on water infrastructure over the five years, up almost a quarter, while investor returns will drop by more than a third.

Wessex Water managing director Andy Pymer said: "The board is clear on the importance of meeting and, wherever possible, exceeding our regulatory obligations.

"We will continue to strive to maintain our position as the best performing water company.

"Our mission, however, is defined by goals that derive from our own ambition rather than from our obligations."

He added that the firm wants to be in the top 20 of all UK service businesses and a leader on environmental performance.