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Out in the Cold – next steps

Following the ‘Beast from the East’ last winter Ofwat required Thames Water, Southern Water, Severn Trent Water and South East Water to submit externally assured detailed action plans.  Ofwat has now reviewed these plans and responded to companies’ proposals for better dealing with extreme weather events and the resulting service impacts.

Positive feedback includes

Companies are collaborating with more key partners, including resilience forums, local authorities and emergency services.Companies are collaborating with each other, showing a commitment to best practice sharing.Some companies have tested their approaches during the hot summer, incorporating the lessons they’ve learned since winter.Companies have worked to improve their stocks of bottled water.

Ofwat has also highlighted the need for further progress, specifically

Ofwat is concerned some companies have more work to do to be ready for winter and have written to companies to let them know where they need to improve and what happens next.There needs to be a vast improvement in the way wholesalers interact with retailers.Companies need to be thinking more carefully about identifying and supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances.Water UK needs to do more to co-ordinate and lead the work to push the sector onwards, and companies need to make it a priority to work collaboratively.

Going forward Ofwat want Water UK to drive the sector’s work forward and will be monitoring their progress reports.  Ofwat have also agreed with Defra, who oversee the Security and Emergency Measures Direction (SEMD) that issues identified in the cold weather reviews should be considered as part of the SEMD certification process this winter.

For further information Ofwat’s letters to companies can be found below:


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