£126 Million Fine For Southern Water
Southern Water has been ordered to pay £126 million in penalties and payments to its customers following a large-scale investigation by regulator Ofwat, which revealed that the supplier had failed to operate numerous wastewater treatment works properly.
It was also found that the company deliberately misreported its performance and that it hadn’t made the necessary investments to prevent equipment failures and wastewater spills entering the environment.
The company was also initially able to avoid penalties under Ofwat’s incentive regime by manipulating its wastewater sampling process and misreporting information about the performance of some of its sewage treatment sites.
This is the biggest package of penalties and payments that the watchdog has ever handed down, proportionate to the size of the business. It would have been larger if Southern Water had failed to cooperate with the investigation, hadn’t addressed its failings and hadn’t agreed to the payment package.
Rachel Fletcher, chief executive of Ofwat, said of the case: “It shows the company was being run with scant regard for its responsibilities to society and the environment. It was not just the poor operational performance, but the coordinated efforts to hide and deceive customers of the fact that are so troubling.
“The previous management failed to stamp out this behaviour and failed to manage its plants properly. In doing so, Southern Water let down its customers and operated in a way completely counter to the public service ethos we expect. That is why the company deserves such a significant sanction. We also think it is important Southern Water has a formal fine on their record for this serious breach.”
It may well be that, as a business, this kind of story is exactly the motivation you need to switch water supplier.
Did you know that the English retail water market was deregulated back in April 2017? This means that, if you’re eligible, you can now choose your own water supplier, so you’re better able to take advantage of better tariffs, an improved service and also find a supplier who specialises in services for your industry or operational needs.
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The market will eventually mature and the best suppliers will be at the top, easy to find, but until then let us do all the hard work for you. It’s always worth getting advice from experienced water management consultants who know the water supply industry inside out, so if it’s peace of mind you’re after, give us a call today