Many water suppliers have been ordered to make payouts to their customers (Image: Getty)
British water suppliers are being forced to pay out to their customers after their regulator exposed key failings across the board.
Watchdog Ofwat has ordered many suppliers to pay back millions of pounds after supply interruptions and failing to hit targets for pollution and leakage.
Those with the biggest amount to pay include Thames Water , which is to pay out £101million and Southern Water, which has been mandated to pay £43million.
Ofwat CEO David Black said these payments will be applied to individual customers through “bill reductions”. Here’s what we know so far:
- The regulator told Express.co.uk the way the rules work is if a supplier underperforms they have to charge their customers less.
- Ofwat itself will not administer these payouts as each supplier is tasked with applying them to their users.
- It is not known how much individual households will get, or the average amount by which people’s bills will be reduced.
- Water bills typically change when the new financial year begins in April so those who are owed a payout may see their bills go down next year.
It comes after several suppliers received the lowest rating for their quality of service, including Dwr Cymru, Southern, Thames, Anglian, Bristol, South East and Yorkshire Water.
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Many water suppliers have been ordered to make payouts to their customers (Image: GETTY)
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- Affinity Water
- Anglian Water
- Dwr Cymru
- Hafren Dyfdwy
- SES Water
- South East Water
- South West Water (South West and Bristol areas)
- Southern Water
- Thames Water
- Yorkshire Water
In contrast, a number of suppliers were rewarded for their service with Severn Trent Water getting £88million while United Utilities is receiving £25million.
Suppliers who outperform can increase their bills as a result so people with these suppliers may see their bills go up.
David Black, CEO of Ofwat, said: “It is very disappointing news for all who want to see the sector do better.
“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.
“We will continue to use all our powers to ensure the sector delivers better value.”
Martin Brown, CCO at FM Outsource, said: “Providing the right communication and a timely refund will be an essential short-term gesture for these providers.
“But when it comes to maintaining trust with the customer, the importance of effective customer service should not be underestimated.
“In the interim, providers need to be prepared for an influx of enquiries following this announcement.”
He warned suppliers need to improve their offering and customer service or they could damage their reputation over the long term.
The water companies’ performance was slammed in light of Tuesday’s news that big beasts of the industry would have to pay out millions.
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey branded the Ofwat report “extremely disappointing” and said that it was “unacceptable” that not a single firm was ranked as “leading”.
Ms Coffey said she and her ministerial team will be meeting with CEOs in person and scrutinising plans for improvement.
Labour’s shadow environment secretary, Steve Reed, said the report was “devastating” and showed “the complete failure of water companies to act on the sewage scandal”.
His remarks come after a year in which pictures surfaced showing prominent water companies pumping human waste in the sea off Britain’s coastline.
Mr Reed added that “stinking, toxic sewage lapping up on our rivers, lakes and seas” was a “damning metaphor for 13 years of Conservative failure”.
Nine private water companies were found to have discharged waste for a total of 1.75million hours in 2022, an Environment Agency report revealed back in May.
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