Southern Water

in Water bills
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lindabealindabea Forumite
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Hi everyone, I was horrified to learn recently that SW have deliberately misled OFWAT resulting in higher charges for their customers. SW apparently were fined, but this does not help its customers. Does anyone know if its customers are due a refund or should we insist on a refund? Not that it will do any good!! I'd be interested to hear other customers' comments.
Before doing something... do nothing

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  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    I read that SW had said that all the customers they overcharged are being refunded.

    http://www.arguslite.co.uk/mostpopular.var.1833532.mostviewed.southern_water_fined_20_3_million.php

    Severn Trent did the same a couple of years ago and had to refund customers; I got back something like £2.
  • lindabealindabea Forumite
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    Thanks Cardew. Let's hope we do get a refund. Personally, I think a fine of 20 million is not enough. And who actually benefits from that money anyway. I think it's totally disgraceful of SW, I can accept a genuine mistake, but as I understand it, this is a deliberate act to mislead and overcharge customers. The directors involved should go to prison. Sorry - I got carried away on my soapbox!!!
    Before doing something... do nothing
  • but hey, at least they arn't allowed to put the price of water up next year.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    lindabea wrote: »
    Thanks Cardew. Let's hope we do get a refund. Personally, I think a fine of 20 million is not enough. And who actually benefits from that money anyway. I think it's totally disgraceful of SW, I can accept a genuine mistake, but as I understand it, this is a deliberate act to mislead and overcharge customers. The directors involved should go to prison. Sorry - I got carried away on my soapbox!!!

    The money from the fine goes to the Treasury.

    Actually the overcharging is apparently not quite as cynical as the headlines suggest. It isn't that ofwat allowed a tariff of £X and SW charged its customers £X + Y%

    As I understand it, all water companies have 'performance targets' to meet(how I hate modern Management jargon) as an incentive.

    With SW, they 'lied' about their statistics on customer service to meet that particular target and this in turn leads to ofwat allowing them to increase their tariff.

    It was probably some senior manager, with his job on the line, who fudged the figures, rather than a conspiracy(that's my guess anyway). No excuse and there should have been internal audits to check.

    The good thing about this situation, and that of Severn Trent, is that it shows the Regulator has teeth and can use them!
  • I was surprised to learn that OFWAT actually has a scheme that all water companies must follow to insure prompt customer service or the water provider must pay a penalty to the customer.

    The OFWAT scheme is called (GSS) or Guaranteed Standards Scheme, but it's the first that I have heard of the law.

    Have a read from the OFWAT website:

    http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat/publish.nsf/content/guaranteedstandardsscheme

    Basically, if one feels that their water service provider has not responded to a query or complaint in a reasonable amount of time as set forth in these terms, then that customer is entitled to receive compensation from their provider.

    Is it still £20 compensation when Southern Water doesn't respond to a written request within 10 working days or has it gone up to £25? Does anyone know?
  • lindabea wrote: »
    Hi everyone, I was horrified to learn recently that SW have deliberately misled OFWAT resulting in higher charges for their customers. SW apparently were fined, but this does not help its customers. Does anyone know if its customers are due a refund or should we insist on a refund? Not that it will do any good!! I'd be interested to hear other customers' comments.

    So do we just wait and hope southern water refund us?? I havent heard a dicky bird from them. I have a feeling they will somehow work this into the new bill so we wont directly benefit :confused:
    Im all for claiming the money owed, no matter how small it is, I dont like southern water atall so why shouldnt they be made to pay out immediately rather than making us all wait for the money.
    Just wondering if my water bill will actually be cheaper next year !!!
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