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.
Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley