Southern Water is set to pay out nearly £30m

A water utility has had to pay its customers nearly £30million over its poor performance.

Southern Water has not met its 2021-22 targets for water treatment, incident pollution and internal sewer flooding.

The company must now cut customer bills by £28.3m after it “fell short” in water regulator Ofwat’s last annual report.

Alongside Thames Water, it is one of the country’s worst water and sanitation providers.

Southern Water to pay millions after missing targets set by Ofwat Pictured is Southern Water CEO Lawrence GosdenWest Beach in Lancing last December

Ofwat Chief Executive David Black said: “When it comes to delivering for their customers, too many water companies fall short and we are asking them to give their customers around £150m back.

“We expect companies to improve their performance each year, where they don’t we will hold them accountable.

“The worst providers, Southern Water and Thames Water, have to pay their customers almost £80m back. All water companies need to regain customer and public confidence and we will continue to challenge the sector to improve.”

Thames Water has to pay its customers £51m.

The reimbursement will affect customer bills in 2023/24.

Southern Water to pay millions after missing targets set by Ofwat Pictured is Southern Water CEO Lawrence GosdenTesting of coastal rivers for sewage

Southern Water is among the worst performers of any company in the UK in 12 categories set by Ofwat in a 2020/21 report.

It was rated “worse than target” for every category except one, its performance during unplanned outages.

Categories include customer satisfaction, water quality, pipe repairs, pollution incidents and sewer bursts.

Southern Water and Thames Water remain at the bottom of the customer experience list for 2021/22.

Southern Water to pay millions after missing targets set by Ofwat Pictured is Southern Water CEO Lawrence GosdenSeaford bathing areas pictured have been affected by sewage releases

A spokeswoman for Southern Water said: “As set out in our annual report, we recognize that Southern Water has not always lived up to expectations over the past few years, but is now positioned to bring about meaningful change for our customers and the environment.

“This includes investing £2 billion (about £1,000 per household) between 2020-25, more than our legally allowed amount, to significantly improve our performance.

“We are on track to reduce pollution by 40 per cent compared to 2021, with work still to be done to maintain this by the end of the year, and we are also industry leaders in self-reporting.

“We know that leakage is a priority for the water industry and Southern Water is no different. Our network is large and complex, encompassing 13,870km of water mains, and this presents many challenges when it comes to finding and fixing leaks.

Southern Water to pay millions after missing targets set by Ofwat Pictured is Southern Water CEO Lawrence GosdenSouthern Water CEO Lawrence Gosden was appointed on July 1 of this year. Image of Southern Water

“We fixed 22,000 leaks in our region last year and we are making huge investments and changes in the way we deal with them and have set a target to reduce leaks by 15 percent by 2025, by 40 percent by 2040 and to be reduced by 50 percent by 2050.

“Our teams work seven days a week to find and fix leaks. We have increased our leak team so we can respond to leaks quickly, and we are investing more in new technology to find and fix leaks in our network.”

Figures from the Environment Agency on southern water pollution show it recorded 381 minor incidents in 2021, compared to 423 in 2019.

It also had three serious incidents in 2021, ones causing “prolonged impacts on the environment, people or property” – compared to none in 2020 and three the year before.

Southern Water to pay millions after missing targets set by Ofwat Pictured is Southern Water CEO Lawrence GosdenWest Beach in Lancing, where burst pipes have repeatedly occurred

It has self-reported 90 percent of its leaks.

Southern Water has come under fire over continuous leaks in the same section of pipe in Lancing’s West Beach area.

People have also slammed the water company’s move to change how alerts are displayed on its Beachbuoy app as a “cynical attempt” to attract less negative publicity.

Last year, Southern Water was fined £90million by the government after dumping billions of liters of raw sewage into the sea. The company admitted 6,971 illegal spills between 2010 and 2015.

South East Water has to pay its customers £3.2million.

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23016522.southern-water-told-pay-almost-30-million/?ref=rss Southern Water is set to pay out nearly £30m

Fry Electronics Team

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