Beast From The East Left Customers Without Water For Days
Industry regulator Ofwat has published a new review looking into the impact that the Beast from the East had on customers’ water supplies over the winter just gone, finding that although some water companies had prepared well for the severe weather (which had been forecast), others did less well which resulted in significant hardship for customers.
The white paper revealed that over 200,000 customers were in fact cut off from water for more than four hours, while tens of thousands had no supply for days.
The watchdog also found that there was inadequate communication with customers, poor advance planning and a lack of rudimentary support, such as bottled water. Several companies were found to have inadequate emergency response plans, reacting to events as they took place.
There was also limited or inaccurate data on where problems were being seen and whether or not they had been resolved. Some companies didn’t have the capacity to manage networks remotely and move resources around, which hindered their response to the situation.
Not only that but an inconsistent approach to finding and supporting vulnerable customers was observed, with some suppliers not having accurate or up-to-date information on those who needed priority help.
“The freeze and rapid thaw earlier this year was forecast and was not unprecedented. A number of water companies showed what can be done to serve customers in the face of bad weather. But too many companies were caught off guard and let people down, causing real hardship as a result. Our report shows there is no excuse for this level of failure,” Ofwat’s chief executive Rachel Fletcher said.
Following the review, Ofwat is now requiring Thames Water, Severn Trent, Southern Water and South East Water to submit an externally audited action plan detailing just how they will be addressing the aforementioned issues – no later than September 28th. If any of the responses are considered unsatisfactory, further action will be taken against the water company in question.
If you were unhappy with how your supplier handled the Beast from the East, now might be the perfect time to think about switching water supplier. You might well enjoy a better service with a different company and you could even save yourself money by finding better rates somewhere else.
In April last year, companies were afforded the opportunity to pick their own supplier for the very first time so it might be a good idea to start looking into this if you’ve never switched before. That said, the new retail market can be difficult to understand for business customers so you might decide that you need the help of an experienced consultant to guide you through the process.
Here at H2O Building Services, we’ll carry out a complete audit of your water usage and current billing, to compare charges with tariffs available ready for you to switch water supplier so you can rest assured you’re getting the best deal.