Thames Water is working hard to ensure that you receive the best service we can provide. To achieve this, it is necessary from time to time to carry out works in the public highway to install, maintain, repair and replace our water mains and sewers.
Whilst we do all we can to minimise disruption during these works within the highway, we understand that on occasions your business may be unavoidably affected. If so, you are entitled to claim compensation1 from us.
This document outlines our approach to business compensation claims (including dispute resolution) that may result from our work in the public highway. It does not cover our approach to any other claim such as claims for loss of water supply or interruption to waste water services2.
- We will take all reasonable steps to minimise any disruption arising from our works in the public highway, liaising with you in this process if you are one of the affected businesses.
- We will assess all compensation claims efficiently and effectively, following our process outlined below.
- We will treat any information you provide in confidence, except where we are required by law to disclose it to third parties.
- We will help you to make the claim and explain the claims process to you if required.
- If you prefer to use a third party3 to help you make the claim:
- We will assess your claim in the same way, whether you decide to use a third party to help you make your claim or whether you wish to make it directly to us.
- We will require written confirmation from you that your representative is authorised to act on your behalf.
- We will send all correspondence to you as well as your representative.
- We will send any compensation directly to you as a cheque.
- Representatives will charge a fee for their services. If your claim is accepted, we will reimburse your representative for any reasonable fees incurred in accordance with our fee scale as specified in our claims form. If your representative charges a higher fee than the Thames Water fees scale, you may be responsible for any payment of the shortfall as their client.
- If you are not satisfied with the compensation we offer, and wish to refer the matter to arbitration, we will work with you to agree an arbitrator. The arbitration process is described below.
- We will inform your retailer of the claim.
Step 1 – How to make your claim
- You will need to obtain a loss of business profits claim form which is available on our website alongside this policy.
- The claim form asks for:
- Your business details;
- Information on the nature of the works (including plans and photographs);
- How it has impacted your business (e.g. traffic restrictions, environmental impact); and
- Financial information covering the previous two years (turnover, profit and loss accounts, VAT returns and registration certificate).
- The claim form must be signed by you as the claimant. Additionally, if you wish to use a third party to act for you, the form requires the name of the third party and asks you to confirm that they are acting for you in this claim.
- We can give you further guidance on how to complete the form and the claims process, if required. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Thames Water, Capital Projects (Loss of Business Claims), Clearwater Court, Vastern Road, Reading, RG1 8DB.
- We cannot process the claim unless you provide all the information requested. If you’ve been in business for less than two years, please let us know and provide what information you have – it will not affect your claim.
Step 2 – Our initial analysis of your claim
- Once we receive your claim, we will undertake an initial assessment and we will let you and your representative know within 15 working days:
- If we need additional information from you to make this initial assessment;
- If we accept your claim for loss of business in principle, based on the initial analysis, and will move to Step 3 to assess the amount involved; or
- If we reject your claim for loss of business, explaining why.
Step 3 – Our settlement of your claim
- If we accept your claim in principle, based on the initial analysis, we will instruct our loss assessor to analyse the claim in more detail.
- We will endeavour to complete our claim assessment within 3 months of our initial response to you, provided you have supplied us with all the required information. The timescale for this process will depend on a number of factors including the nature and complexity of the claim, the quality of the information provided by you and the proximity of other non Thames Water related work in the area.
- Following this assessment, we may:
- reject your claim, and explain our reasons why; or
- accept your claim and make a settlement offer to you.
- If we make you a settlement offer, we will ask you to accept in writing. Payment will then be made by cheque directly to you as our customer for the amount of compensation due to you.
- VAT is not payable on compensation payments.
Dispute resolution - arbitration process
In the vast majority of cases, our customers are satisfied with the compensation offer that we make. However, where this does not happen, you are legally entitled to request that your claim is referred to an arbitrator4 to resolve the dispute.
The appointment of an arbitrator will result in additional costs such as the arbitrator’s fees and any associated legal costs, which could be considerable. The arbitrator will decide who should pay these costs. In considering which arbitrator would be best suited to a case, it is important to consider the arbitrators’ CVs together with details of their terms of business, basis of charging, and proposed rules of arbitration. To do this, we request that you provide us with the names of three arbitrators together with the details mentioned above. If it is difficult for you to provide the details required, please let us know and we would contact your proposed arbitrators to ask for this information, copying you in any correspondence.
Once we receive details of your proposed arbitrators, we will reply within 28 working days.
Alternatively, we may provide you with names of three arbitrators and their details for you to choose, if this would be preferable.
If we cannot agree on the choice of an arbitrator, having made a reasonable attempt to do so, either of us may ask Ofwat to appoint one.
For further details or advice on arbitration, you may find the following websites useful:
1 Schedule 12(1) of the Water Industry Act 1991
2 You can find out more about these other types of claims by looking on our website, or by contacting us on 0800 316 9800, or via our email address email@example.com.
3 Your accountant may be best placed to assist you as they will be familiar with your business and will be able to provide the financial detail needed to support your claim.
4 Schedule 12(1.3) of the Water Industry Act 1991