Updated: Statement on disruption to water supplies

The Consumer Council for Water – the independent water watchdog that represents all water users in England and Wales – has released an updated statement in response to the recent disruption to water supplies in parts of England and Wales.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Many customers that have contacted us say the frustration and inconvenience of losing their supply has been compounded by poor communication from their water company. It’s an issue that we’ll be taking up directly with companies to ensure that they learn lessons and share good practice where it was evident. Companies had ample time to prepare for the forecasted drop in temperature, which wasn’t unprecedented, but some of their planning fell short of customers’ expectations.”

Affected customers should expect to hear directly from their water company on the issue of compensation for the disruption to their supply. Under the Guaranteed Standards Scheme, in most cases household customers should automatically be entitled to a payment of £20 if their supply was not restored within 12 hours. They then get an additional £10 for every 24 hours they are without supply. For businesses it’s slightly more – £50 initial payment and then £25 for every 24 hours thereafter.

However, Tony Smith added: “Given the huge inconvenience this has caused to many customers we think the standard automatic payments are the minimum they should expect. We expect water companies to be sympathetic to customers  – whether they are individuals or businesses – that have suffered extra hardship or losses and be open to considering additional compensation where appropriate.”

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