Ofwat says customers can't fully trust data from four UK water firms

Courtney Goldsmith
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Some water companies are not transparent enough for Ofwat's liking (Source: Getty)

The water industry watchdog has said it does not have full confidence in the information provided by four UK firms.

In a report today, Ofwat said data handling shortcomings at Bristol Water, Dee Valley Water, Southern Water and Thames Water mean the regulator and customers cannot be sure the information presented is complete and accurate.

Despite this, Ofwat found improvements overall. Three companies that performed particularly well were Northumbrian Water, South East Water and United Utilities.

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“As customers, we want to be able to trust what we get from our water company – be that the water out of the tap or what they tell us. Unfortunately, on the second of those, our checks suggest we might not be able to take everything at face value," said Aileen Armstrong, senior director for finance and governance at Ofwat.

“These businesses provide essential public services and they need to assure customers they are doing the right things in the right way. If they are to gain and keep the trust of customers, they need to have high quality checks on their information and present it fairly, clearly and completely.”

Ofwat urged water suppliers to improve how they prepare and present information ahead of the next price review, which covers the period from 2020 to 2025.

Thames Water recently said it was working to improve transparency, including closing its Cayman Islands subsidiaries.

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