Water providers forced to pay back customers for poor performance

Water providers have been ordered to repay customers £114 million after failing to reach key benchmarks.

According to Ofwat, the industry regulator, enterprises are “falling short” on performance indicators such as leakage, supply, and pollution reduction.

Following a review, it stated that millions of pounds would be returned to homeowners by decreasing bills.

According to Ofwat’s assessment, no company met the highest level of performance.

Dwr Cymru, Southern, Thames, Anglian, Bristol, South East, and Yorkshire Water were rated “lagging,” while the remaining ten were rated “average.” None were deemed “leading.”

The regulator judges water companies in England and Wales against “stretching” targets set in 2019 for a five-year period.

If they fail to meet the measures set, Ofwat restricts the cash they can take from customers.

Ofwat’s chief executive David Black said while the reductions “may be welcome to bill payers, it is very disappointing news for all who want to see the sector do better”.

He added: “It is not going to be easy for companies to regain public trust but they have to start with better service for customers and the environment.”

Thames Water must return the most money – more than £101m – followed by Southern Water, which must pay out £43m.

Thames Water provides water and wastewater to 15 million people while labouring under a mountain of debt. In July, shareholders agreed to invest an additional £750 million in capital as it battled off government control and faced criticism over sewage spills and leaks.

“Customers are tired of not getting the service they deserve for the things they care about,” said Mike Keil, senior director of the Consumer Council for Water.

“It’s right and fair that people get their money back when they don’t receive the services they were promised by some water companies. People want assurance that their water bill is good value for money.”

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