PN 07/14: Thames Water pledges customer package worth £86 million
5 June 2014
Ofwat has today welcomed Thames Water’s commitment to paying a package worth £86 million to customers and the communities it serves, following Ofwat’s investigation into the company’s reporting of sewer flooding data in 2010.
Thames has committed to a reduction in bills worth £79 million, spread over the coming decades, and will give back £7 million to customers and the community. Thames will:
- put an additional £2 million into its independently managed Thames Water Trust Fund, to assist customers who are having difficulty paying their bills;
- invest £5 million to support additional community projects such as local programmes to better protect rivers and improve the natural environment; and
- accept a reduction of £79 million from its regulated capital value (RCV). This will result in lower bills for Thames’s 14 million sewerage customers for years to come.
Ofwat’s investigation related to Thames misreporting the number of properties at high risk of sewer flooding between 2005 and 2010. This meant that more properties were recorded as at high risk of sewer flooding than there was evidence to support. The misreporting may have led to poorly targeted and inefficient spending of customers’ money. But there was no evidence of deliberate misreporting, and Ofwat is satisfied that Thames’s approach did not put any homes at risk of sewer flooding, and that its programme did reduce the risk of sewer flooding at the homes of a large number of its customers.
Ofwat welcomes Thames’s recognition of the problem and a commitment to put it right by returning money to customers. It also recognises that between 2005 and 2010 the company spent an additional £20 million of its own money to help deal with sewer flooding problems, and this money has not come out of customers’ bills. Since 2010, it has also taken steps to avoid such a problem recurring and it has been able to demonstrate to Ofwat significant improvements in its sewer flooding reporting processes.
Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive of Ofwat said:
“We welcome Thames’s co-operative approach which means we have concluded our investigation more quickly and resulted in a better outcome for customers.
“We are satisfied that Thames has put right the problems that caused the misreporting. It’s only fair that when companies make mistakes, they put it right and make sure customers are not out of pocket.”
Notes to editors
- The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. It exercises its powers in a way that it judges will protect the interests of consumers, promote value and safeguard future water and sewerage services by allowing efficient companies to carry out their functions properly, and finance them.
- Media enquiries to Ofwat Press Office on:
Simon Markall 0121 644 7696 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Harbinder Babra 0121 644 7616 / email@example.com