I am aware that thousands of residents across Guildford and the surrounding villages who were affected by last year’s water outages are rightly concerned by Thames Water’s performance. Many residents are still trying to receive compensation and are not confident in the adequacy of the current supply infrastructure and Thames Water’s communications.
This is why I organised a meeting with David Black, Ofwat’s CEO, Iain Coucher, Chair, and Jeremy Hunt MP on 29th January to discuss Thames Water’s performance and what the regulator will do to ensure these issues get resolved.
Ofwat regulates water companies and it is their job to ensure Thames Water promotes the interests of consumers, finances their functions adequately, and secures long-term resilience. Ofwat can do this by investigating potential breaches of the rules, imposing penalties, and setting price limits.
During the meeting, I asked what Ofwat is doing to ensure Thames Water improves its communications, distributes compensation to all eligible households, and invests in long-term resilience for Guildford and our villages.
Ofwat is aware of the current vulnerability of our water supply to interruptions as we are near the end of distribution channels. Having reviewed Thames Water’s performance last year and having asked the company to prepare a service commitment plan, Ofwat is now stepping in to require that Thames Water does so with greater urgency and purpose.
Ofwat agreed that Thames Water’s communications were very poor and that the company has been falling short. I was pleased to hear that Ofwat will be conducting a license review which will support customers by granting the regulator greater ability to take enforcement action and impose financial penalties.
I know many of you will rightly have more questions to put to the regulator, which is why I am pleased that Ofwat confirmed that they will join the panel for a public meeting with Thames Water in April.
I will update residents as to when the details of the public meeting are confirmed.