Eleven water companies fined and forced to give money off customers’ bills | Business News
Eleven out of 17 water utilities in England and Wales have been fined for missing their target and will be forced to pay customers millions in their bills.
Periodically, regulator Ofwat determines whether water utilities are complying with industry standards on issues such as supply disruptions, pollution incidents and flooding of internal sewers.
Violations mean multimillion-pound fines, which will then be returned to customers in the form of bill reductions.
This year, however, with companies allowed to raise their bills in line with CPIH inflation – which hit 8.6% in the 12 months to August – these reductions could be wiped out.
In total, £150 million will be taken from the companies and returned to customers in 2023 and 2024, with Thames Water and Southern Water performing the worst. They are being fined £51m and £28.3m respectively.
The best performing companies are Severn Trent Water in the South West and United Utilities in the North West. They will be allowed to generate an additional £62.9 million and £24.1 million in their respective customer bills.
Ofwat’s review comes out a few days later newly appointed environment secretary Ranil Jayawardena forcing water owners to take action on wastewater being dumped into rivers and on beaches.
Several investigations have found raw sewage illegally pumped into rivers and seas around the UK.
Data reveals a significant increase in raw sewage discharged into UK waterways and seas
According to the data, wastewater monitoring systems at UK seaside resorts are faulty or not installed.
French politicians say the UK is threatening marine life and fishermen’s livelihoods with sewage
Mr Jayawardena said: “The volume of wastewater discharged by water utilities is completely unacceptable, and the public has clearly expressed their outrage.
“On my first day in office, I told the water utilities executives that it wasn’t good enough, and I directed them to formally write to me with a plan on how they would significantly improve. “
Water companies also face driest summer of the yearwith a prolonged drought ban faucets.
David Black, Ofwat’s chief executive officer for England and Wales, added: “When it comes to delivering to their customers, too many water companies are falling short.
“We expect companies to improve their performance year after year; if they don’t, we calculate them.
“All water utilities need to regain the trust of their customers and the public, and we will continue to challenge to improve this area.”
The annual targets were set at the regulator’s last price review in 2019 and will be in place until the next review in 2025.
How much is your water company fined?
Water with affinity – £0.8m
Anglian – £8.5 million
Dwr Cymru – £8 million
Hafren Dyfrdwy – £0.4 million
Northumbrian Country – £20.3 million
SES Water – £0.3m
South East Country – £3.2 million
Southwest Country – 13.3 million pounds
Southern Country – 28.3 million pounds
Thames – 51 million pounds
Yorkshire Water – £15.2
Companies are allowed to charge more – and how much
Bristol Water – £0.6 million
Portsmouth Water – 0.8 million pounds
Severn Trent Water – £62.9
Male Water Officer £3.3 million
United Utilities – £24.1 million
Wessex – 4.4 million pounds