Thames Water’s directors were found to not have enough oversight and control of the company’s leakage performance, with the company losing approximately 25% of all water that it treats and puts into its system. For its mistakes, Thames Water agreed to pay £65 million back to customers on top of £55 million in automatic penalties leakage.
Moreover, the company has committed to getting its leakage performance back in line with what it has previously promised it will deliver for its customers in 2019-2020. It will publish its performance each month in tackling leaks, appoint an independent monitor to certify the information in its monthly leakage reports and make addition reductions of 15% by 2025.
“High leakage creates unnecessary strain on the environment, excess costs for customers and increased risk of water shortages. A well-run water company will have a good understanding of the condition of its pipes and will be able to reduce leakage over time. Ofwat has set all water companies a target of bringing down leakage by at least another 15% up to 2025 and expects further reductions beyond this date. Thames has assured us that they now have a grip on the leakage situation, but this should serve as a catalyst for the company to improve how it delivers on its wider commitments to customers,” said Ofwat chief executive, Rachel Fletcher.
Thames Water will be now investing record amounts in personnel and infrastructure to find and fix leakage, including using the latest technology. However, the company pointed out that big water companies are in no better of a situation, with United Utilities having leakage rates of 25%, Severn Trent of 23% and Yorkshire Water of 23% as well.
“Reducing leakage is really important to us and to our customers. We met our leakage targets for a decade but our recent performance has not been good enough. We let our customers down and for that we’re sorry. We have taken more control of how we manage the network and are investing significantly more in people and resources to tackle leakage, get back on track and then go beyond. Thanks to these changes already in place, our current leakage repair performance is our best ever at around 1,000 a week,” said Steve Robertson, Thames Water chief executive.