Thames Water plans to invest £11.7 bn in fixing leaks and infrastructure, as part of its five-year business plan, but it does not plan to reduce bills.
Britain’s 17 regional water monopolies submitted their five-year spending plans (2020-25) to Ofwat for, the industry regulator, at the beginning of the month.
The FT reported that unlike other water companies Thames Water does not plan to cut prices. Steve Robertson, who took over as chief executive two years ago, said that the key message from customers was that “the priority should be on service and on resilience”. Thames Water, he added, was starting with some of the lowest bills in the sector. The company, which serves ten of the poorest boroughs in the UK, will cut bills for households struggling to pay.
Britain’s biggest water company plans to invest a record amount on improving infrastructure and will cap pay outs to investors in a bid to help repair its reputation after a barrage of criticism over its performance. Thames Water, which supplies more than 15m people, said it would invest £11.7bn as part of its next five-year business plan, £2bn more than in the previous period. It includes £2.1bn to reduce leakage and improve the resilience of its infrastructure – including the building of a storage reservoir in Oxfordshire which would be connected to the Thames.
Mr Robertson said the reservoir could take up to 15 years to complete. It will capture excess rainfall during the winter and then be able to release it to the wider region during hotter months at times of need. “The economic impact of a major drought in London is phenomenal. It would pay for itself in a few days,” he said.
Thames Water said it was “very hopeful” its plan would be accepted. Ofwat will publish an assessment of each company’s plan in January 2019.