What do you think about water?

Ofwat
Ofwat Posts: 13 Organisation Representative
Water is everything. We drink with it, we bathe in it, and we grow things in it . But most of us don’t really think about it.

Population growth and climate change mean that needs to change. How much water we need, and how we use it will be different in the future. And of course, not forgetting to think about how much we pay for water.

At Ofwat, it’s our job to protect customers by setting out what water companies need to do, and limiting how much they can charge customers.

To help us shape the future, and meet these challenges, we’re talking with customers from across England and Wales now, to better understand how people think, feel and talk about water. You can see some of the stories we’ve collected here: https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/waterstories/

And we want to know what you think.
• How important is water to you in your daily life?
• What do you expect from water at home and out of home?
• Aside from delivering water through your tap, what does your water company do for you?
Do you see water companies as part of your community? Do you want them to be?
Official Company Representative
I am the official company representative of Ofwat. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"

Comments

  • samsmoot
    samsmoot Posts: 736 Forumite
    edited 6 December 2018 at 8:56PM
    Apparently I can only speak about my own water supplier, whereas I really wanted to say how Severn Trent Water PLC (for one) has conspired/continues to conspire with the DWP to obtain unlawful Third Party deductions from benefit claimants.


    "...it’s our job to protect customers by setting out what water companies need to do", you say, so maybe you should set out more clearly and forcefully how water companies should make efforts to NOT apply for disallowed deductions from benefit instead of routinely making UNLAWFUL and fraudulent applications.


    It wouldn't be so bad if the DWP verified the paperwork and acted in accordance with the Regulations, but they don't, and even defend the taking of deductions when the evidence and law says they shouldn't, and even resort to blatant lying about the law.


    So that's why I say it's a "conspiracy": it's a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful.*


    I think you should audit all TPDs for water charges to see if they are compliant with the regulations and the law. I guarantee that you'll find some that aren't.


    I'd be happy to fill you in a bit more on this, but if you look at my early posts you will find plenty to consider.




    *Apart from the first hand knowledge of such deductions, I have looked at parliamentary committee minutes from 10 years or more ago. There you will see discussed how benefit claimants' water charges would be recovered. The DWP and the water companies, apparently, were at odds as to who should take responsibility for paying water charges. The water companies would have liked water debt to be automatically paid by the DPW, as Council Tax is, for instance. But that, it looks to me, would have made the DWP liable to pay a lot more in benefit, as water charges would rise and so more benefit would have to be paid. A lot was deliberately kept from the committee/s, such as amount included in benefit towards water charges. £1 per week was a figure mentioned.


    As it is now, water charges have to be paid from 'money the law says you need to live on'. As water charges have substantially risen over time, benefit claimants would now receive less money to live on than if the water charges were paid directly to the water companies, in my opinion.


    The DWP said that the admin of water charges/debt would be too onerous and unfair, but it was promised that they would ensure that water companies got their money by allowing customers who ran up debt to be subject to the TPD scheme. They didn't quite say that they would administer it unlawfully, but the fact that they do suggests that there was some kind of understanding on both sides to ensure that the water companies got paid, and that the DWP didn't have to pay inflationary benefit amounts.


    Consider this also: there is no evidence or statement that ANY allowance for water charges is given in benefit. There IS an allowance for heating, but NOT for internet connection, as an example of what is and is not 'essential'. The £1 was maybe a red herring. So could be that the DWP had no right to include an allowance for water charges in benefit payments anyway, but didn't say so, instead promising to supply that info at a later date then failing to provide it ever since.


    I can't 'prove' a conspiracy but I can show evidence of unlawful deductions by way of county court and social security tribunal decisions.



    "Do you see water companies as part of your community? Do you want them to be?", you ask.


    I suggest you stop asking silly and pointless questions and get on the case.
  • Grey_Critic
    Grey_Critic Posts: 1,337 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    An article in The Independent in July of this year said Shareholders in the UK’s nine privatised water companies have made more than £6.5bn from dividends and interest in the past five years, Bosses of the nine companies were paid £58m in salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits over the same five-year period, The nine firms paid out £1.4bn in dividends last year alone, according to the research.


    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/privatised-water-companies-dividends-interest-billions-gmb-union-research-a8463706.html
    The article goes on to say.
    Earlier this month, water regulator Ofwat said excessive pay and poor performance had damaged consumers’ trust in the industry.


    Personally I think you are just fiddling while Rome burns. You have answered your own question. Your job is to control these companies and stop their excesses – as long as it is cheaper to pay the fines instead of improving the infrastructure and stopping leaks then they will continue to flout the rules.



    Whilst you are at it you might also take a look at the Pension Funds in which they have intentionally allowed deficits to accumulate whilst increasing dividends. Not the job of the UK tax payer to make up the shortfall.
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