Thousands Without Water for Four Days - What are Your Rights?

Elizabeth Elden
7th March 2018, 8:00 AM
  • Sudden rise in temperatures caused frozen pipes to burst
  • Aftermath of Storm Emma continues to leave areas of the UK struggling
  • Homes in London, Kent, Sussex, and Wales affected

Water banks have been set up across the country to help those cut off from their water supply. Image:Getty

Across the UK, thousands of homes have been left without water, due to poor infrastructure and freezing temperatures.

Water companies have been working through the night to reconnect homes and businesses in London, Kent, Wales, and Sussex, however many are still not connected.

South East Water says about 7,000 of its customers still have no supply.

London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has criticised the companies after thousands were left without water in London, and some schools were forced to close.

The freezing temperatures last week caused water in pipes to freeze and expand, and the sudden rise in temperature at the weekend led the pipes to burst, cutting off homes from their water supply.

Check out your rights for the recent cold weather here.

MPs have called for a public inquiry to find out why water companies were not prepared enough for the weather.

In Wales, over 1,500 properties are without water, and even when the water is reconnected, it may be discoloured and unsafe to use.

Thames Water, which supplies water to homes in London, said around 5,000 customers are still cut off, and in Hastings, another 1,200 do not have water.

Rachel Fletcher, Chief Executive of Ofwat, said, “A number of water companies have fallen short on their forward planning and the quality of support and communication they’ve been providing, leaving some customers high and dry.

“Everyone’s number one priority must be getting the water flowing as quickly as possible, and ensuring that all customers- in particular those in vulnerable circumstances- get the support they need.

“When the taps are back on, we will take a long, hard, look at what has happened here, and we won’t hesitate to intervene if we find that companies have not had the right structures and mechanisms in place to be resilient enough.”

Earlier in the year, water companies announced that they would be increasing the cost of bills for that importance maintenance could be carried out on their pipes, and with the current situation, it looks like companies should have got round to this much sooner.

What are your rights if you’ve been cut off?

Water companies have set up water banks in areas that are affected.

If you have had your water supply cut off, then visit one of these to pick up water bottles for free, instead of paying for them at supermarkets.

Ofwat will be conducting an investigation into the water companies once water has been reconnected to the affected homes, and it is expected that customers will be able to claim compensation from their provider when this happens.

Have you had your water supply cut off? Let us know in the comments

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