Thames Water Is Shite


Thames Water Wastes Water

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