Water suppliers are experiencing a new round of scrutiny from the regulator following recent severe weather conditions that caused an unusual number of pipes across the country to burst.
Numerous consumers were left without the supply of water, in some cases for several days, as utility companies worked to repair leaking pipes after a period of rapid freezing and thawing.
Today, Ofwat started a review to investigate on how the water companies handled the issues regarding the supply, including whether they had adequately planned ahead, whether they provided enough communication and support and whether they were offering sufficient compensation for their customers.
Rachel Fletcher, the chief executive of Ofwat, stated: “Through this review, we are aiming to get to the bottom of why this happened and to identify what lessons can be learned, so customers experience minimum disruption in these kinds of circumstances in future.”.
Fletcher added: “We’ll find out where companies did well by their customers and where they’ve fallen short, including the compensation being offered to those who were directly affected. Water companies should ensure that compensation adequately reflects the scale of inconvenience and distress caused to their customers. Compensation should be fair, fast and free from hassle for customers.”
The regulator will look for input from community organisations, local authorities, public representatives, and the affected businesses and households.
If there is any sign that a company breached any of its licence conditions or statutory obligations following the review. Ofwat said that it would consider whether further action will be required.
Jaguar Land Rover, a car manufacturer, and Cadbury, the chocolate giant, were also affected by the issues on water supply. On Monday, they were forced to stop production at their separate Midlands plants due to the damage to the water supply from Storm Emma.