Ofwat proposes higher standards and compensation for water companies

The UK water regulator Ofwat has published proposals intended to improve minimum standards of service for water customers and increase the compensation payable if these standards are not met.

For many of the standards contained in the Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS) the level of compensation should be increased from £10 to £20 and should be paid automatically, according to proposals published by Ofwat.

Also included in the proposals, designed to improve the minimum standards of service water customers should receive and the amount of compensation they should get if these are not delivered, is the introduction of a new standard for where a company is convicted of supplying water which is unfit for human consumption.

The GSS was set up as a compensation scheme to protect customers who suffer a particularly poor standard of service. Proposals in the consultation paper include:

  • that a £20 payment should be made to customers where a company is convicted of supplying water unfit for human consumption;
  • that the agreement by companies to pay compensation to customers where essential supplies are interrupted during a drought is brought within the GSS scheme;
  • that companies should restore supplies within 12 hours after an unplanned interruption, unless the burst is on a strategic main;
  • that companies should respond within five working days if a request to change a customer’s payment method cannot be met; and
  • that a refund of the sewerage bill should be made for each incident of sewer flooding in a property, subject to a per incident limit of £1,000.

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