Northumbrian Water among 11 water companies fined and will give customers money off their bills - full list

Northumbrian Water will cut bills by £20 million

Northumbrian Water is among 11 water companies fined for missing pollution targets.

The total fines of all 11 companies come in at around £150m and Northumbrian Water, which supplies mains water and sewerage services in the English counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and parts of North Yorkshire, has received a fine of £20.3m.

Thames Water and Southern Water were fined the most - £51m and £28.3m respectively - due to them “missing targets on water treatment works compliance, pollution incidents and internal sewer flooding across 2021/22 and will have to reduce customer bills accordingly,” according to Ofwat.

The fines will be returned to customers in the form of lower bills in the 2023-24 financial year.

Regular Ofwat, determines whether the 17 water companies across England and Wales have adhered to industry standards such as supply interruptions, pollution incidents and internal sewer flooding.

Some water companies such as United Utilities and Severn Trent water exceeded expectations, which means they can raise customer bills.

Regulation and Assurance director of Northumbrian Water, Andrew Beaver said: “Our levels of customer service and environmental impact are among the best in the industry. This is demonstrated by the four star rating the Environment Agency gave us earlier this year.

“Ofwat’s draft decision however proposes a significant financial penalty. This is almost entirely driven by what happened during Storm Arwen in late 2021, when extreme weather conditions in our operating areas led to widespread power outages.

“Despite the large-scale multi-agency response some customers experienced temporary interruptions to their water supply.

“We expected that Storm Arwen would have been deemed an extreme weather event and not included in their draft determination, however OFWAT has rejected this proposal in its draft decision.

“We are very surprised by Ofwat’s draft decision and will be responding to the consultation in due course. We will keep customers informed of the outcome.”

David Black, Ofwat CEO, said:  “When it comes to delivering for their customers, too many water companies are falling short, and we are requiring them to return around £150m to their customers.

“We expect companies to improve their performance every year; where they fail to do so, we will hold them to account.

“The poorest performers, Southern Water and Thames Water, will have to return almost £80m to their customers.

“All water companies need to earn back the trust of customers and the public and we will continue to challenge the sector to improve.”

Full list of 11 companies that have been fined

  • Affinity Water - £0.8m
  • Anglian Water - £8.5m
  • Dwr Cymru - £8m
  • Hafren Dyfrdwy - £0.4m
  • Northumbrian Water - £20.3m
  • SES Water - £0.3m
  • South East Water - £3.2m
  • South West Water - £13.3m
  • Southern Water - £28.3m
  • Thames Water - £51m
  • Yorkshire Water - £15.2m