TONY HETHERINGTON: Affinity muddies the waters after supply is cut off to make repairs
Ms S.S. writes: Residents in our street were told by Affinity Water that our water supply would be cut off for 12 hours. But we were left without any mains water for roughly 24 hours.
Several weeks later, Affinity Water compensated some residents but not others because, they claim, they had fixed the problem. This is a distortion of the facts.
There is no dispute over the fact that your water supply was interrupted. Affinity Water has told me that a new water main needed to be installed.
The company notified householders in advance that their water would be cut off while work was carried out. The flow ceased one day at 8am and was due to be turned back on that evening at 7.40pm.
The reader says she was left without any mains water for roughly 24 hours
Affinity Water told me: ‘At approximately 9.30pm, we had reports of no water in the area. Our investigations found that a water main, unrelated to the improvement works, had burst.
‘Our technicians repaired the burst main and the majority of customers had their water restored by 8am.’
All of these times are important. If an unplanned cut-off lasts more than 12 hours, Affinity Water compensates the affected customers. So, the question is, who was cut off and for how long?
You have told me that after the improvements were completed, water came back on for about five minutes and then stopped. The supply was so brief that some households probably did not realise the water was back on before it went off again.
All this was at about 8pm, but Affinity Water only starts the clock on its compensation rule just before 9.30pm, when it says it found out about the new burst.
Muddying the waters further, Affinity compensated some householders who it says were not reconnected until the following afternoon, but refused to pay you and other residents, saying your water supply resumed earlier.
In a nutshell, the two events – the planned works and the new burst main – may well have cut off your water for a day or even longer.
But the water company ruled that for you and ten other residents, this was not ‘one continuous event’.
I am glad to say that Affinity Water has reconsidered. Even if the first interruption was planned and even if the supply was briefly restored, the inconvenience is undeniable.
The company told me it now feels this is an exceptional circumstance. It added: ‘We will therefore be compensating the affected households as a gesture of goodwill.’
I understand the payment will be £40 per property.
I hope your neighbours are grateful to you for the fight you have put up.