Reader's Letter - Update on water issues and £25 rebate

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A couple of weeks ago, I stepped into the shower and waited for the water to come through. But nothing came. It was the third time in as many weeks that the water supply had failed.

Emails and automated telephone calls from United Utilities informed me there was a recurring issue and they were working hard to fix it. Then a few hours later the water came back on. Thankfully, it was an inconvenience but not a disaster.

On social media, some residents had contacted United Utilities asking for compensation. They were told it was only payable if the water had been off for 12 hours or more.

However, I did some digging and while this is true, I also found out compensation might still be payable because of the repeated disruptions. I wanted to clarify this with United Utilities and rather than speak with their call centre, I wondered if my new role as Chair of Economy & Growth at Cheshire East Council would help get a definitive answer.

I soon found out the councils CEO regularly meets with the directors of all our local utility companies. Even after 4 years as a councillor, I am surprised at the many things Cheshire East does on our behalf that we almost never hear about. Therefore, a quick exchange of emails with the CEO's office at United Utilities confirmed:

a) The issue was caused by a blockage in Wilmslow's water system. This meant the water pumps were working too hard to maintain the pressure, which caused their electrics to repeatedly cut-out.
b) This blockage has now been removed and the issue fixed.
c) The service agreement for all water companies says that any two incidents of low pressure/no water, lasting more than an hour within any 28-day period, allows residents a £25 rebate. This is only payable once per year though, so is not cumulative.
d) United Utilities monitors the water pressure across Wilmslow, so knows which houses were affected. Therefore, they will apply a £25 rebate to those water bills.

This is good news all round. The issue is now fixed and we will automatically get £25 for our inconvenience too. So, look out for your rebate in your next bill or enquire with United Utilities if it doesn't come through and you think you should get it.

Best regards
Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Terence Burgess
Monday 12th June 2023 at 9:16 am
Hi Mark,
I live on Colshaw Farm estate and like many have had problems with the water supply recently.
I contacted UU via their online form asking for a rebate off my bill.
I received a phone call from them last week and was told about the 12 hour disruption to be eligible for any reduction off the bill.
I wasn't told about any other rebate. They obviously don't want people to know about this.
How can people claim this?
I don't have any faith in UU, so am I better off contacting OFWAT about this?
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 12th June 2023 at 12:12 pm
Hi Terrance

We have been told the £25 rebate will be applied automatically, so you do not need to contact United Utilities to get it.

However, it will take them a week or so to gather the data showing which houses were affected and then add the 325 credit to their accounts. Therefore, look out for it in your next bill and contact them if it does not appear.

If you do need to do this, then mention the dates when the water pressure was low / stopped. Tell them that as it has happened on two occasions within a 28 day period, you are entitled to £25 back. United Utilities doesn't seem to mention it on their web site but Ofwat does. They state it is a "minimum standard of service" for all water companies in England & Wales and the £25 compensation is for "Incidences of low water pressure".

Hopefully though, you won't need to have to do this.
Katy Dixon
Wednesday 14th June 2023 at 6:13 pm
I do hope this comes to fruition. Is also argue that the problem isnt fixed. I reported today constant water issues- it either doesnt come through or your blasted in the face with high pressure - ongoing issue for weeks now
Sandra Cox
Thursday 15th June 2023 at 2:26 pm
Katy Dixon I agree with you. In Dean Row, we still have the water off at least twice a day though not for long which follows what I was told two weeks ago. Apparently someone is sitting beside the pumps and when they 'trip' he/she switches them on again! My pipes rumble and, like you, when the taps are turned on again, there is something resembling gunfire and a flood! I was also told there was another repair before the situation was back to normal but that would not be completed until some time in July.
Graham Shaw
Friday 16th June 2023 at 8:52 am
For the record I live on Lees Lane and have been complaining about the utilities for 11 years now. After a major power outage in Dec and work carried things are no better having had 3 power cuts since then.

However, this pales into insignificance when compared to United Utilities performance which has seen us lose supply a staggering 8 times so far this year, as well as suffering from poor pressure. Yet like everyone else they say I'm not entitled to scrap of compensation.

Then we hear of a massive raw sewerage leak across the Fylde coast.

Would they put up with such a shoddy outfit down South?
Sandra Cox
Friday 16th June 2023 at 2:57 pm
Graham Shaw the answer to your question is that I very much doubt those in the South would put up with the service we receive up here. It would be all over the national news but we are left to get on with it. Electricity outages are ongoing as you so rightly say. About 25 years ago one lasted for about 24 hours and as many people as possible connected 'fridges and freezers to a neighbour's generator which he moved to the middle of the Lane. Nothing changes let alone improves.
Katy Dixon
Monday 26th June 2023 at 5:12 pm
Hi mark

I had complained to UU about the ongoing problems ( almost daily at one point) and their reply didnt mention anyrebate

They said
When looking into a request for compensation we must ensure that we are adhering to our standards of service set by our Regulator. To do this we use data which we download from critical monitoring points (CMP’s) located in the water pipes, these devices record when water is off and on and when the pressure is reduced. As you were not without water for 12 or more consecutive hours we are unable to pay the £30 for loss of supply in line with the Guaranteed Standards of Service (GSS).

We do have a GSS payment for customers who experience a fall in pressure below 7 metres head for more than an hour, twice within a 4 week period and anyone identified will automatically pay £50.00.

This payment is given only once a year regardless of how many times the criteria is met. However, the pressure to your home did not drop below 7 metres head of pressure so this payment is unfortunately not applicable.
Raymond Walker
Monday 26th June 2023 at 9:09 pm
I received my water bill about ten days ago and despite being a victim of low water pressure on three occasions no rebate was shown. I contacted UU a week ago to inquire. They said that the low pressure happened on these occasions, for an hour, the pressure was not particularly low and so my request was not valid.
I put it to them that —
a) if the pressure drop was negligible why would they telephone to warn about low pressure?
b) if it was only around an hour why did they leave it until late afternoon to say the pressure was back to normal?
c) their phone logs will prove the above and also indicate the days when SK9 6DT suffered,
I asked what pressure is normal pressure. Their reply 7m Head of water. That sounds rather high. I also asked that if there is a threshold why don't they announce what Head the water pressure has fallen to when warning the public in their recording.
After three calls I have suggested their response is incorrect and unacceptable. I await a further call.
We thank Mark Goldsmith for taking up the matter.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 28th June 2023 at 12:05 am
I got a letter on Saturday confirming that I would get a £25 Rebate on my next annual statement. I live just off Altrincham Road not far from the Fire station.