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Thames Water, the UK’s largest water provider, is due to pay a package worth £86 million to customers after it mis-reported flooding data back in 2010, regulator Ofwat said.
The water company has agreed to the conditions 0f a £79 million reduction of its regulatory capital value, which will lead to lower bills for Thames Water’s customer base of over 15 million people. Thames Water will also return around £7m to its customers and the community which it serves. This agreement is in place of a fine, which would have been paid to the Government rather than those affected.
Regulatory capital value measures the financial return that a water company would generally receive on its investments. This figure helps Ofwat decide whether price rises put forward by water companies are fair before it chooses to agree to them. The regulator said that the reduction in the regulatory capital value of Thames Water would mean that water bills for customers would be reduced by over £15 million in the next few years. Plus, customer bills would be kept lower for years to come, potentially decades.
An investigation by Oftwat found that Thames Water mis-reported the number of properties that were at high risk of sewer flooding between 2005 and 2010. This meant that more properties were recorded as being high risk than the evidence suggested- meaning that it led to poorly targeted and inefficient spending of customers money. However, Ofwat was keen to add that there was no indication Thames Water had acted in this way knowingly.
Using the £7m being returned to customers and the community, Thames Water will put an additional £2 million into its fund which is designed to help those who are struggling to pay their bills. £5 million will also go towards supporting additional community projects such as local schemes to protect rivers.
Ofwat added that the sewer work carried out by Thames Water did help reduce the risk of flooding at the homes of a large number of customers. It added that between 2005 and 2010, the period of mis-reporting, Thames Water also invested £20m in helping to deal with sewer flooding problems and the money did not come out of customers bills.
To find out more about Thames Water and how you can get help paying your bills, call the Thames Water telephone contact number.