As you know, I have been pressing South East Water to provide compensation to customers affected by the cuts to water supplies before Christmas.
In my debate in Parliament last week, here, and in conversations with the company’s management I argued that this must go beyond the statutory minimum, given the duration of the outages and the disruption they caused.
Following a meeting I had with South East Water I am glad to say that payments are now being made, and are at a much higher level than the statutory level.
The payments will depend on the area affected (different areas were disrupted for different periods), as follows:
- Most households (approximately 85%) will receive £250 in compensation.
- The next tier (6% of households disrupted) will receive £150
- The remaining 9% of households affected will receive £60.
The average annual water bill for South East Water is £220 a year and so - while everyone’s bill differs - for many households this refund will be in the order of a year’s water supplied.
While financial compensation cannot take away the experience that people endured, it is far beyond the contractual amount payable and I think it does meet the demand that I made of the company.
Some people receiving this email will have noticed their accounts being credited if they use a South East Water online account, while others will receive confirmation via post shortly.
Any compensation will be credited to the customer’s South East Water Account, where it will be deducted from subsequent bills.
However, I have established with the company that customers who don’t want it left on account can have it refunded direct to their bank. South East Water suggest you call 0333 000 0001 if you would like to request this.
I have also asked South East Water to make a contribution to our community over and above individual payments and I will update you further when I have concluded those discussions.
This compensation is welcome, but South East Water need to ensure that we are never in this situation again. I will be meeting further with the company in the coming weeks to discuss what investment they will be making in the local network to ensure it is resilient against future disruption.