Thames Water found itself at the centre of another industry scandal, with the supplier yesterday ordered by Ofwat to hand back over £100m to customers after failing to meet standards for fixing pipe leakages, sewage overflows and environmental protection.
Industry regulator Ofwat has ordered the UK’s largest supplier – which serves 15m customers- to cut bills after its latest annual performance review had found the supplier had fallen short of standards.
The utilities giant was “sorry” to have failed customers, having missed a whopping 45 per cent of its performance commitments this year.
A Thames Water spokesperson said the firm was “determined to do better for our customers and the environment.”
The report is the latest blow for the troubled supplier, which has been struggling under a £14bn debt pile, along with the fallout from a boardroom exodus in June when boss Sarah Bentley stepped down .
It is now scrambling for £2.5bn in funds to ensure it can complete its turnaround plans.
The company’s tenuous position reflects the wretched state of the wider water industry with Thames Water labelled one of seven laggards in the regulator’s report.
Ofwat has determined that the industry has to pay a net £114m back to customers with Southern Water also having to pay out £43m in rebates.
Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage praised the report – arguing that the “stink is plain for all to smell and see,” while The Wildlife Trust warned “harm to the environment simply cannot be allowed to continue”
Pressure is now mounting in Westminster, with environment secretary Therese Coffey pledging to meet the chief executives of the seven worst performing companies, slamming the performance review as “extremely disappointing.”
Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow environment secretary pledged to “for the water companies to clean up their filth” through instant fines and more responsibility for bosses – but stopped short of calling for the industry’s nationalisation.