Around 1.4 million Welsh Water customers are set to receive a £10 rebate after the firm admitted it failed to accurately report leaks across its network.
Industry regulator Ofwat is investigating the company after an internal review found ‘governance and management oversight failures’ in its data reporting.
The watchdog sets yearly performance targets for water companies on leakage and per capita consumption, and investigations found water leaks were found to be at a ‘much higher level’ than reported and usage per customer was lower.
Total leakage for 2021-22 was 240.3 million litres per day- far higher than the 157.4 million litres per day reported by the not-for-profit company.
It comes days after the company, the Welsh government and environmental authorities urged the public to be ‘thoughtful’ in their use of water to avoid last summer’s drought restrictions.
The findings mean every Welsh Water customer- households and businesses- who had a live account on 31 March 2023 will get a £10 credit on their account.
The company said it aimed to have credited everyone within six months and the rebate would show on their next bill.
Customers with a water meter can expect to see their rebate in the next six months. Those without a water meter will see the credit in their bill for February or March 2024.
Welsh Water said its own review first identified the concerns, which were then ‘reviewed fully over the past 15 months with support from independent experts.’
Peter Perry, CEO of Welsh Water, said: ‘’We are very sorry and disappointed that this has happened.
‘We’re investing an additional £54 million over the next two years to identify and reduce leakage as quickly as possible and we have shared the findings of our investigations with our regulator.
‘Whilst our robust assurance process ultimately identified the issue, there were failures in our governance and management oversight processes that allowed this in the first place.
‘We have made the necessary changes to how we manage leakage reporting and closed the gaps in our reporting and governance processes.’
Water consumption per household dropped from 174.7 litres per day in the initial figures to 154.8 litres per day when revised.
David Black, chief executive of Ofwat, said: ‘We are committed to holding companies to account for performance and for sharing timely, accurate, and complete data with us and their customers.
‘We recognise that Welsh Water came to us when it became aware of the issue with the accuracy of its performance data.
‘Ofwat’s investigation will consider Welsh Water’s restated performance figures, the circumstances that led to the company reporting inaccurate performance, and what steps it has taken or is taking to address these failings.
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) said the ‘£10 rebate will go some way to reassuring customers’ that Welsh Water ‘regrets the damage that this will have caused to people’s trust’ in the firm.
CCW spokesperson Emma Clancy said: ‘It is reassuring that the company identified the issue through its own assurance processes.’
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