Thames Water to pay £86m for misreporting flood risks

Suzie Neuwirth
THAMES Water has agreed to pay £86m to customers after it was found to have misreported the number of properties at high risk of sewer flooding in 2010, the regulator Ofwat said yesterday.

The London water supplier has committed to reduce its regulatory capital by £79m, which Ofwat said should lower customers’ bills in the years to come. It will also return £7m to customers and the community.

Thames Water recorded more properties as being at high risk of sewer flooding than they should have between 2005 and 2010, which may have led to poorly targeted and inefficient spending of customers’ money, Ofwat said, although it added that there was no evidence of deliberate misreporting.

“We are satisfied that Thames has put right the problems that caused the misreporting,” said Cathryn Ross, chief executive of Ofwat.

“It’s only fair that when companies make mistakes, they put it right and make sure customers are not out of pocket.”

Last November, Ofwat rejected Thames Water’s request to raise customers’ bills by eight per cent this year, which the water company argued it needed to fund the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a new super sewer, on the grounds that it was unjustified.

“We made a mistake in some of our 2009-10 sewer flooding statistics,” said Thames Water in a statement.

“Ofwat agree that this was not deliberate and we are pleased they have accepted our package of measures in response.”