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Millions of Southern Water customers due rebate

Patrick Christys
Jun 26, 2019


Does anybody else feel like the UK's water supplier regulator, Ofwat, is just one letter away from having a much better name?

Anyway, Ofwat has clamped down on Southern Water after it emerged the firm hadn't handled their water treatment works properly, funnelling waste into the environment.

In fact, 4.2m households will get a rebate of at least £61 over the next five years!

It found that the company had not operated several wastewater treatments works properly, which led to spills of wastewater.

Southern Water also manipulated its wastewater sampling process, meaning it misreported the performance of sewage treatment sites. This way it could avoid penalties by Ofwat.

So, it turns out Southern Water are a bunch of total Ofwats...which is why they've been slapped with the largest fine this industry has ever seen.

Southern Water will refund £123million to customers through their bills and pay a fine of £3million.

The rebate includes £91million in penalties Southern Water had avoided and an extra £32million of payments as recognition of its failures.

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Southern Water customers who pay wastewater charges will be eligible for the refund.

They can expect a rebate on their bills of £61, starting with £17 in April 2020 and £11 in each of the following four years, although the actual amount could increase with inflation.

The water firm is only giving rebates to households who are customers at some point between April 2020 and March 2025, so if you're no longer a customer, you won't receive any money.

If you're not a customer during the whole time period, you'll receive a partial refund.

If you're still with the firm, you should sit tight for now as you'll only be refunded from next year.

Southern Water says it'll contact eligible customers with more details nearer the time.

Ofwat chief executive Rachel Fletcher said: "What we found in this case is shocking.

"In all, it shows the company was being run with scant regard for its responsibilities to society and the environment.

"It was not just the poor operational performance, but the co-ordinated efforts to hide and deceive customers of the fact that are so troubling."

She added: "It is now for Southern Water, under its new leadership, and with the improvements it is introducing, to show it has learnt from this unacceptable behaviour and can be trusted again."

 

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