4 Mar 2009

Another meeting at Wessex Water HQ

A week or so ago I made my way down to Bath for the day for a meeting of the Customer Liaison Panel - as some will know I was appointed to the Wessex Water panel for SDC - see here details of my first meeting and a press release re their special tariff for those in financial difficulties here.

Photo: Wessex Water HQ

Anyhow this meeting was a chance to raise more issues and hear about how Wessex are fairing...also a great lunch...

In no particular order here are some of the interesting bits - Wessex hope to have 50% of their customers on meters by end of 2009, significant improvements have been made in sewer compliance, reservoirs are all appropriately full for this time of year and drought is unlikely to hit the area this year - and the assist tariff mentioned above has now been fully approved and cash receipts are 30% higher than before!! This is great as CAB and other advice centres are maximising income - and Wessex are giving them some £310,000 for their services.

What else? Last time I mentioned metaldehyde/slug pellets - well we had an update - the reservoirs are back online and they are working with farmers to ensure the problem doesn't happen again - I did ask if other water companies are testing for slug pellets and got a vague answer as the test is new - I hope they are and hope they are acting as responsibly as Wessex.

We also had an interesting talk about Wessex Waters' approach to biodiversity on it's sites and details of their surface water management plans - all very useful stuff - especially as those are key issues raised by the new brook and flood forum we have created locally - see here.

I have already raised other issues previously and was able to raise some of these in more detail at the meeting eg:
- the effects of salt grit on water supplies (see here) has raised concerns but it seems no alternatives are advocated specifically,
- water fluoridation especially after the situation in Hampshire (see here) - as expected they gave some comment about it being the health authorities responsibilities,
- the impact of the recession on water meter users - apparently water sales by volume are down by around 3% this year - however only half of income is volume dependent so the impact on income is low.
- some Council's have difficulty gaining access to accurate information from water companies regarding info for their Strategic Flood Risk Assessments re sewage overflowing. The water companies are noting that it is commercially sensitive information. This clearly makes it difficult to create accurate assessments of risk and plan future developments. Wessex are clearly trying to work around this as there are also issues of confidentiality - some householders are unhappy to have their homes labeled as a sewage risk - makes selling difficult and can effect insurance policies.

Apols for haste putting this together - it does not do justice to the meeting we had or the quality of info presented - do contact if you have any issues to raise re Wessex Water.

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