Thames Water Is Shite


Thames Water Wastes Water

Wednesday 31 October 2007

Complaints Soar

The UK water watchdog said today that written complaints to water companies increased by nearly 31 pct this year, with billing and charging concerns making up half of the complaints.

Figures compiled by the Consumer Council for Water showed that 78 pct of the 241,000 complaints came from customers of Macquarie Bank's Thames Water, United Utilities PLC and Severn Trent PLC.

Customers of Portsmouth Water, Yorkshire Water, Dee Valley Water, Folkestone and Dover Water and Tendring Hundred Water filed the lowest number of complaints per 10,000 customers.

Yve Buckland, national chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said:

"Water customers are becoming increasingly demanding of their companies. They see water companies making good profits and expect service, if not improving, then at the very least delivered to a good, consistent and reliable standard. They also want complaints dealt with 'right first time'.

We will be pushing water companies to improve these figures and provide a much better level of customer service, comparable with the best in other service sectors

Source Hemscott

This story comes as no surprise to me!

Friday 28 September 2007

Thames Water Faces Record Fine

Thames Water could be fined a record £12.5m by industry regulator Ofwat for misreporting and poor customer service.

The water company faces a £11.1m fine for misreporting regulatory information and a further £1.4m fine for poor processes and systems that led to customers receiving unsatisfactory services.

Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said: "Water is a monopoly business and until we see a competitive market developing, Ofwat must protect customers by regulating the companies' prices and quality of service.

advertisement"To do this we need complete, accurate and reliable information. Misreporting of information damages our ability to regulate the industry and therefore to protect customers."

The news is likely to be cheered by consumer groups which have spent the past year attacking water companies for failing to meet leakage targets while making huge profits.

Water bills have increased by seven per cent this year - well in excess of inflation - to take the average water and sewerage bill to £312 in England and Wales.

The proposed fine follows Ofwat's investigation last year into Thames Water's reporting of its customer service performance.

The regulator said that Thames acted responsibly by informing Ofwat of the misreporting, taking steps to investigate the situation itself, co-operating with the review and reimbursing customers the amount they should have received following poor service by the company in the past.

Ofwat stressed that there is no evidence of fraud by Thames Water, Britain's largest water company, and that the investigation did not find any evidence of deliberate misreporting.

Thames Water said the proposed fine was "totally disproportionate", and revealed plans to challenge it.

Ofwat said: "The proposed fine is appropriate given the seriousness of the misreporting and customer service failures by Thames, while also being fair and proportionate and taking account of the steps Thames has taken to remedy the situation."

Source The Telegraph

Friday 24 August 2007

Mayor Submits Appeal Against Thames Water

London Mayor Ken Livingstone submitted an appeal to the UK High Court against Thames Water Utilities' proposed desalination plant in Becton, in the east of the capital.

Livingstone is appealing last month's approval to build the facility, saying the government didn't give "proper consideration to the Mayor's case" and hasn't properly examined alternatives to the plant, the mayor's press office said in an e-mailed statement today.

"Thames Water should be fixing more leaks rather than finding expensive ways to spend Londoners' money on making fresh water," Livingstone said in the statement.

"Adding 200 million pounds to Londoners' water bills to spend on technology more appropriate for the desert is simply a disgrace. I cannot sit back and allow this to happen."

Source Reuters

Friday 10 August 2007

Mosquito Menace

In Hounslow, more than 1,000 residents living close to the Mogden Sewage Treatment Centre are suing Thames Water over the insect menace. Neil Stockdale of Hugh James Solicitors, representing the residents, said:

"Our case is Thames Water should have realised that it had to carry out works to tackle this problem as far back as 1988 but failed to do so."

Source The Independent

Friday 3 August 2007

Water Back

Congratulations to Thames Water for managing to restore my water supply yesterday, within the time frame that they promised.

It seems to be working fine.

Thursday 2 August 2007

Sewage and Shite Are Synonymous

Parents have found their children playing in sewage after Thames Water failed to clear it up.

Flood water in north-west London, caused by last week's torrential downpours, has resulted in sewage becoming embedded on lawns, paths and playing areas in Kenmore Avenue, Harrow.

Mohammed Ayaiz's son, Usmaan, started complaining about itchy legs and bottom after playing outside.

Mohammed said: "As soon as I saw him I knew it was because of the water, I can only put it down to the sewage water remains and God knows what else in it.

"We've told him that he can't play outside there any more and I take him to the park instead. But it's summer now and I'm still concerned about all the children who are off, I'm worried that they will get something because the sewage hasn't been cleared up properly."

A spokesman for Harrow Council said: "The council and Thames Water sent several cleansing teams down to Kenmore Avenue last week to clear any residue left by the flooding. We will obviously send another team out if residents still have concerns."

Mohammed said: "The area has to be washed or jetted with clean water to try and get rid of some of the dirt and debris left over. The area still smells of the sewage water and is very unpleasant.

"We constantly have problems with children from other streets playing on the green patch. Now we have a real problem and we need to advise parents in the surrounding areas to stop their children from playing in the affected area."

Jane Nower, of the Environmental Agency, said: "The Environment Agency's advice in the event of any flooding is do not enter the water either in a vehicle or on foot.

"This is both from a contamination and health and safety aspect, as you may encounter hidden obstacles such as open manhole covers as well as pollution risks. These messages were widely broadcast by the Environment Agency during the flooding incident."

Source Local London

Tuesday 31 July 2007


My old chums at Thames Water have evidently learned a small lesson from their previous interactions with me.

They have very wisely decided to give myself, and my neighbours, a whole two days notice about yet another interruption to our water supplies.

This time we are told that our water will be shut off this Thursday (2nd August) between 08:00 and 14:00. I have lost count as to how many times they have cut us off in the last few weeks.

I will be timing them!

Monday 30 July 2007

Another Apology

Thames Water sent me another apology on 27th July, on top of the one they sent me a day or so earlier, maybe their internal communications ar not quite up to snuff?

The first paragraph of their apology makes interesting reading.

They note that I raised the fact that it took them 13 days to respond to my earlier complaints, then happily say that the 10 day deadline for answering mails etc is due to an agreement with the regulator; but that "this does not mean that we do not aim to reply to all customers as quickly as possible".

Am I missing something in their "logic" here, or have they totally missed the point that I made about taking 13 days to answer?

Maybe they don't understand what they have written?

Anyway, here is their apology in full:

"Thames Water
Customer Relations
Customer Services
P.O. Box 436
SN38 1TU
Telephone: 08457 200897
Fax: 01793 424291

E-mail: Customer.Feedback@thameswater.co.uk
27 July 2007
Our Ref: 431258
Water Supply

Dear Mr Frost

Thank you for your e-mails of 16 and 17 July 2007. I note your comments about us taking 13 days to reply to your previous e-mail.

As agreed with our Regulator, we have ten working days to reply to all written correspondence,which includes e-mails. However, this does not mean that we do not aim to reply to all customers as quickly as possible.

I am very sorry to hear about the disruption to your water supply on 16July 2007, and I understand the inconvenience this must have caused you.

In view of your comments I have forwarded a copy of your e-mail to the contractors completing this work. They advised that there were a number of very short disruptions on 16 and 17 July 2007 while we transferred the new supplies onto the new main. Whilst we do our best to provide a constant supply of water, there are times when we need to turn off the water for maintenance work.

If we plan to carry out some work that will involve turning off your water for more than four hours, we will give you advance warning.

However,as this was not the case on this occasion we did not provide notification. On 16 July 2007 you contacted our contractors, Morrison, to advise that you were without water and that they arranged for a plumber to call at your property within two hours to investigate.

They found that the interruption to your supply was due to a build up of debris, which is impossible to avoid with pipework of this age, and they resolved this problem immediately.

I hope this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Customer Relations

Thursday 26 July 2007

The Apology

Thames Water's written apology, with a warning that work on our road continues!

"Dear Mr Frost

Re: **** Road – Replacement of Victorian water mains

Following our telephone conversation on 24 July, please accept my apologies for the information that was previously given to you. We do have records of the contact that you have made with Thames Water to complain about our work.

The mains replacement is nearly finished in *** Road. We still have a few more customer connections to make, as well as connect a fire main and one connection which will span the full width of *** Road. We plan to have finished this work by Friday 3 August.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Name edited out

Project Communication Consultant

cc: Andrew Pelling MP

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Thames Water Apologises

Thames Water rang to apologise to me today, they noted that they did indeed have a record of my numerous complaints made to them.

They will also be sending me a written apology.

They also noted that they had seen this site:)

Friday 20 July 2007

The View From The Thames Water Bunker

Here is what Thames Water sent to Andrew Pelling MP, re my water supply problems.

"..many thanks for your patience in waiting for a response. As you may be aware with the replacement of the mains there is a period of time when every property will have its water shut off while the pipe connecting the property to the water main is switched from the old pipe to the new.

When this happens every resident is told when the supply is going off and warned of the maximum amount of time that the water would be off. Our contractor has admitted that in *** Road some of these notifications were late being sent out and have given an assurance that this will now be tightened up.

With regard to Mr Frost we have had three contacts from him - 3 July - report of no water, technician attended his property and problem traced to a burst 'old'. The repair continued into the 4 July and a 'rider ' was set up to give Mr Frost a supply.

16/7 - report of no water from Mr Frost with a report of no water in his neighbour's properties. No work or shuts undertaken by the Victorian Mains Replacement Team therefore network investigation took place. Technician visited Mr Frost 17/7 and found only Mr Frost was affected and he had made an assumption neighbours affected.

Checked of internal plumbing resulted in finding of grit, most probably from the mains work, causing problem. Rectified 17/7.

Two other contacts in *** Road while work has been carried out one involving a delay while contractors was waiting for a valve delivery and the other where the supply pipe to a block of flats had been incorrectly recorded.

In the latter case bottled water was dispatched immediately to residents while supply was restored. Other contacts have been around when working in road, how long, parking- all quickly answered.

On Mr Frosts claims on Thames Water bonuses no bonus has been paid to any director or manager under the new owners. There were some one off payments made to directors of RWE Thames Water who are not part of the new Thames Water Management team associated solely around the sale process.These were made by RWE.

I must add that at no time has Mr Frost made known either to us directly or through the contractor his dis satisfaction

The latter sentence has caused me a degree of "disbelief", I have via email and numerous phone calls made my "dis satisfaction" (sic) very clear to them.

Do they not keep records?

Thursday 19 July 2007

The Unholy Alliance

Ken described Metronet's five shareholder partners - Bombardier, Atkins, Balfour Beatty, EDF and Thames Water - as an "unholy alliance who awarded themselves all the work".

Not my words, but those of Ken Livingstone Mayor of London.

Source This Is London

Wednesday 18 July 2007

The Green Veneer

Environmental campaigners today attacked the government's decision to approve the development of the UK's biggest desalination plant as a backward step in the fight against climate change.

The £200m Thames Water plant at Beckton, east London, will employ an energy-intensive process pioneered in desert countries to convert sea water into drinking water at times of drought.

Planning permission for the plant has been granted by the communities department after a heated inquiry.

The scheme was approved only after Thames Water pledged to use renewable energy to power the plant and to operate it only during droughts or extended periods of low rainfall. It will run on biodiesel, despite growing concerns about the sustainability of biofuels.

The plant will be able to provide up to 140m litres of drinking water a day - enough for nearly 1 million people. It is expected to run for up to 40% of the time over the next 25 years.

Campaigners said approval for the scheme sent out the wrong signals, and said the plant would be unnecessary if Thames Water was better at managing its resources.

Rob Oates, the manager of the UK freshwater programme at the conservation organisation WWF, said:

"It is nonsense to imagine that London, or indeed anywhere in the UK, needs a desalination plant to supply its freshwater needs. This is the UK, not Yemen.

What we really need to do is reduce leakage, which still stands at 25%, introduce universal water metering to reduce demand, end over-abstraction from the UK's rivers and introduce more water-saving devices in homes and businesses.

At the moment, half of the drinking water supplied to homes is used for flushing toilets and washing dirty clothes, which is madness

Mr Oates dismissed the proposed use of biofuels to power the plant as "an environmental red herring that does nothing more than put a green veneer over a fundamentally damaging project".

The London mayor, Ken Livingstone, opposed the plans during the inquiry. Today, his spokesman said the decision was "a step backwards in the battle against climate change".

The spokesman said the mayor would continue to press Thames Water "to ensure that the environmental impact of the plant is minimised".

Richard Aylard, the director of external affairs and sustainability at Thames Water, said:

"The desalination plant is a vital part of our plans to secure future water supplies to the capital. The plant is essential alongside our continuing progress in reducing leakage and proposals for a new reservoir in Oxfordshire.

It may seem hard to imagine now given the rainfall we've been experiencing, but without this plant there would have been a real risk that Londoners would be facing water shortages in future years

Source Guardian

Environmental Issues

Stockton's water and sewer operations will return to public control, after the city council voted Tuesday to drop its appeal of a judge's ruling against its $600 million deal to privatize the system.

A San Joaquin County judge ruled in November that the city's 20-year privatization deal was illegal because it failed to conduct a required environmental review first.

Environmental and community groups had sued the city, claiming that the system's operator, OMI-Thames Water Stockton Inc., poorly maintained facilities that were causing sewage spills. The deal with OMI-Thames, a joint venture of American and British firms, was the largest water contract of its kind west of the Mississippi.

City leaders had vowed to fight Judge Elizabeth Humphreys' decision, saying the city was only required to review individual construction projects.

But the city council voted unanimously late Tuesday to withdraw the appeal and comply with the judge's order for the city to take over management of the utilities. Under a settlement with plaintiffs, Stockton would regain control in March 1, 2008.

Plaintiffs hailed the vote.

"We are delighted that the city has agreed that the people should have control over their water supply," Sylvia Kothe, chair of the Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton, said in a statement.

Source Mercury News

Thank You

My thanks to Andrew Pelling MP, who has written to Thames Water asking them to look into the issues raised on this site.

Tuesday 17 July 2007

The Farce Continues

The farce over our water supply continues. Having enjoyed at least 3 hours of water today, supplied at the correct pressure...for once; guess what happened next?

Yes, that's right!

At 14:45 this afternoon our water was cut off again!

Thames Water tell me that a water main somewhere in Croydon had burst.

One hour later our supply has resumed...for the moment.

Stay tuned for the living soap that is Thames Water.

Prognosis Sediment

Touch wood, today's problem is now fixed.

The plumbers have identified that sediment has been clogging up our pipes, causing lack of pressure, the sediment has been stirred up by the cutting off and reactivation of our supply.

The Plumbers Have Arrived

The plumbers are now on site.

Value For Money

Thames Water bosses have been attacked over executive pay after the company, which has been heavily criticised for leakage, paid out large pay rises and bonuses.

The utility last year pushed up pay by 66 per cent for executives, many of whom left last October after its takeover by Macquarie, and gave a further £1 million in incentive schemes.

The move was condemned by London politicians, who said that Thames had imposed the first hosepipe ban for 15 years during the period.

Thames angered consumers and politicians last year after losing nearly a third of its water through leakage but increasing its profits by 31 per cent to £346.5 million.

Source: The Times

A Sorry Tale

Thames Water are replacing the old water mains in the Croydon area.

All well and good, if the project is well managed.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our road in Croydon, the upgrade is not being well managed.

In the space of less than 6 weeks we have had our supply cut off 4 times by Thames Water. Twice without any warning whatsoever.

Today and for most of yesterday, having endured being without water for a few hours yesterday, we have since had "reduced pressure" on our system; making our dishwasher and washing machines unusable, and causing considerable inconvenience in the kitchen.

We are advised that they will send a plumber around later today!

Keep reading, as I post updates on our sorry tale and on the incompetence of Thames Water.

This site is under development and will grow.

Please update me with your stories about Thames Water.

Monday 16 July 2007

Customer Care

Received from Thames Water, some 13 days after I wrote to them about their "service".

"Dear Mr Frost

Thank you for your e-mail of 3 July 2007.

I am very sorry to hear about the interruption to your supply, and I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this must have caused you Leaks occur for a verity of reasons and as you are aware we intended to interrupt the supply on 2 July 2007 to carry out the necessary repair.

However, we were aware that it would take some time to complete this work and arranged for an alternative supply which ran above the ground to keep disruption to a minimum. Unfortunately, this alternative supply burst on 3 July 2007.

We could not foresee this but carried out the repair as quickly as possible. Compensation for loss of water supply is considered under the strict terms of our Customer Guarantee Scheme.

Under the terms of the scheme we will make a payment to you of £20.00 if we fail to restore your supply within 12 hours of being told about the problem.

As the water supply was restored within this time frame you are not entitled to a payment on this occasion.

I hope this information is helpful.

My response:

"Thank you for your response which took 13 days to write.

At the time, 3rd July, I spoke to one of your engineers who was unable to explain what the problem was.

Today, the water has again been shut off again without any warning.

This time, so I am told, it is due to a valve being replaced.

Truly pathetic!

Thames Water will be featured in my websites this week, and the details passed to my good contacts in the media.


Ken Frost

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Water Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop To Drink

Despite the rain, there have been regular outages of supply in my home.

Sent to Thames Water 3rd July 2007.

"Two weeks ago you cut the water supply off to Tavistock Road, whilst you replaced an old water main.

A few days ago notices were posted, advising us that there was a leak and that on Monday 2 July you would again cut the water off to fix the leak.

Today, 3 July, you have cut the water off without any warning.

I have the following questions:

1 Why did the replacement of the old pipes give rise to a leak?

2 Why did you not complete the work on the 2nd, as you had promised?

3 Why did you cut the water off here without any warning today?

4 Do you think that this is represents good customer service? Here's a clue... I don't!

5 When will the water be back on?

6 What will you do to compensate us for your incompetence?


Ken Frost

Saturday 30 June 2007

Leaks 'R Us

Thames Water is to spend almost £1bn tackling leaks in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last summer's costly water shortages.

The company expects to spend £900m next year improving and replacing its ageing Victorian pipe network. Last year, infrastructure spending rose 41pc to £779m.

The increased spending follows the uproar last year after Thames revealed that it was losing 894m litres of water a day, enough to fill 344 Olympic-sized swimming pools. At the time, it had imposed an unpopular hosepipe ban and posted an 31pc rise in full-year profits.

Industry watchdog Ofwat, criticised by MPs for not being tough enough, demanded Thames spend an extra £40 per customer on reducing leakage over the next three years.

Source The Telegraph

Sunday 22 April 2007

The Filth of Forth

The public has been warned to avoid contact with water in the Firth of Forth after a "major" spill of more than 100 million litres of sewage.

Pumping equipment at the Seafield Wastewater Treatment Plant in Leith failed at 1630 BST on Friday.

Thames Water, who run the plant, said 1,000 litres a second of partially diluted untreated sewage had been pumping into the Forth.

Source BBC

Thursday 11 January 2007

The Best Laid Plans

Meetings between the council and Thames Water have been arranged to ensure the borough does not come to a standstill while leaking Victorian pipework is being replaced.

The start date for work on the town centre has been postponed to avoid the January sales period. So far the two parties have agreed that managers from Thames will meet regularly with council members during the 18-month project.

Source Croydon Guardian