We all rely on water – so during this challenging time we’re focused on making sure we can keep on supplying your essential water and wastewater services. It’s also really important to us to promote the health and well-being of our customers and our people. So we’re closely following government health advice and doing all we can to help our community stay safe.
We’ll need to change how we do certain things for a while, and some activities are taking longer than usual. We’re really grateful for your support. We’ve put together a selection of our most frequently asked questions below that we hope will be useful to you.
Changes to our service
Our teams are focusing on keeping your water flowing, so our billing contact centre isn’t able to help as many customers as usual. Please only ring us if you’re struggling to pay your bill – we’ll be happy to help.
Our 24-hour helpline remains open to help customers with urgent issues such as loss of supply or flooding.
Accessing our services online
It’s quick and easy to access many of our everyday services online and we’re encouraging you to do this as much as possible. It’ll help us ensure we’re always available for those most in need.
All you need is your Thames Water account number and you can:
- Make and manage payments – including setting up a Direct Debit
- Tell us you’re moving home
- Submit water meter readings
Or, sign-up to manage your full account online and get instant access to these services and more, including downloading a copy of your bill and changing your account details.
Taking care of the vulnerable
We’re thinking of our most vulnerable customers at this difficult time – we know there’s a lot on your mind right now, and we’re here to help.
If you’re worrying about paying your bill or what might happen if your water stopped, you’ll find advice in our frequently asked questions below.
We’ll keep you up to date
You can stay up to date with the latest government health advice on the NHS coronavirus page.
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding as we navigate this uncertain time together. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.
Frequently asked questions
I’m on a meter and I’m worried about my extra water usage. How will this affect my bills?
The government has stressed the importance of high standards of cleanliness, and careful hand washing is one of the best things we can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Good news – washing your hands only uses a relatively small amount of water, so you shouldn’t see your bills rise because of it.
But we’re aware you might be at home all day right now, which means you’re likely to use more water than usual. If you’re worried about the impact this could have on your bills, why not check out our useful tips on ways to use less water around the home.
Our systems are designed to handle increases in water usage, so please don’t worry about this creating any issues with our water supply.
You’ve stopped reading my meter. What does this mean for my bill?
We’re closely following government health advice and doing all we can to help our people and community stay safe. So we’ve now paused non-essential home visits, including meter reading.
If you have a smart meter, nothing will change for you – your readings are sent automatically. If you have an analogue meter, and it’s located somewhere you can safely access, you can submit your own readings online. You’ll find more advice on how to take and submit your readings here.
If you can’t submit a meter reading, don’t worry – we’ll work out your bills using an estimate based on your usage history. As soon as we can visit you to take a meter reading, we’ll adjust your bill.
You’ll continue to receive bills according to your pre-agreed schedule, and if you’ve got a Direct Debit, this will remain in place but with small changes to the payment amounts, if necessary.
What can I do if I'm struggling to pay my bill?
We may be able to help you reduce the costs of your bills before you fall behind. This could include helping you spread your payments by setting up a payment plan or signing you up to one of our support schemes. We’re also busy looking into other ways we can help.
You can find out more about ways to pay by visiting thameswater.co.uk/pay.
If you’re worried about missed payments, you can find advice and information on how we could help you at thameswater.co.uk/support.
I usually make my payments at the Post Office, at a bank or using my PayPoint card. How do I pay if I can’t go out or they are closed?
We understand that you may struggle to keep up with your payments if you prefer to pay at a Post Office, at a bank or with a PayPoint card at an outlet that has closed. Or if you’re self-isolating or unwell. We do have a range of other payment options to help you make your payment, such as paying on our website or making a bank transfer. You can find out more at thameswater.co.uk/pay.
If you’re especially worried about outstanding charges on your account, please get in touch.
Customer health and safety
I don’t have running water – how can I wash my hands to protect myself from the coronavirus?
We’re terribly sorry your supply’s been disrupted at such a difficult time. We’re working as quickly as we can to restore normal service for you. You can check our homepage for updates to all major incidents. The NHS advise that soap and water is the best way to keep your hands protected, but if you have some available, you can use alcoholic hand sanitiser as an alternative when hand washing isn’t possible.
Can my water be contaminated with coronavirus?
The World Health Organisation has said coronavirus (COVID-19) can’t survive in disinfected drinking water and hasn’t been transmitted in this way.
We test our treated water regularly to check its quality, and all our staff follow governmental guidance, and our own high standards, for personal hygiene and health and safety
I don’t have running water, how will you be distributing bottled water safely?
Ordinarily, during ongoing water stoppages, our teams distribute bottled water to our customers from central hubs in the affected towns and villages. In light of recent government instruction around public gatherings, we’re reviewing this process and looking at what we can do differently to keep distributing water safely.
Your health and well-being are very important to us, and we’ll keep you updated with our latest plans here.
I'm elderly, disabled or have an ongoing health concern. Can you help me if my water stops?
Our priority services register helps us provide extra help to customers who need it most. This can include delivery of bottled water during ongoing water stoppages.
You can find out more, check your eligibility or register here.
I have no water but am self-isolating / I’ve contracted coronavirus and can't collect any bottled water. Can you help?
We’re very sorry your supply’s been disrupted. We’re working as quickly as we can to restore normal service for you. You can check our homepage for updates to all major incidents.
We want to get water to as many customers as we can at this difficult time but we’ll need to prioritise those with water-dependent medical conditions. Please get in touch to let us know your situation.
If you need water urgently, it might be best to ask a family member, friend or neighbour to drop off some supplies for you.
I need to clear my blocked drain. Can I get coronavirus from sewage?
We’ve not received any evidence that sewage can spread coronavirus, but as this is a new disease and we don’t yet have all the information about it.
However, you should always take great care when in close proximity to or handling sewage, whatever the circumstances. We would suggest wearing gloves and, if possible, other protective clothing when working to clear a drain, and the government advises thorough washing following any contact with faecal matter.
The NHS are continually updating their information on coronavirus.
Operations and services
Are your teams still visiting customer homes to read meters and attend other appointments?
Following the most recent government instruction, we’ll be stopping non-urgent home appointments including meter reads and internal investigations. If you had a planned appointment that can’t take place, you’ll be contacted and notified of the change.
The safety of our customers and staff remains of the utmost important to us. If we do need to enter your premises, we’ll follow the strictest guidelines on social distancing and will be happy to take any extra precautions you request. If you’re unwell or someone in your home has symptoms of the coronavirus, please let our teams know.
Are your call centres operating as normal?
Our staff have been classified as key workers so we can continue to provide you with your essential water and wastewater services. This means our 24-hour helpline is still open to help you manage emergencies.
However, our billing call centre is currently only able to answer calls from customers who are struggling to pay their bills and need extra support, or those without internet access.
If you need to pay your bill, submit a meter reading or update your contact details, please register for an online account.
We’re following government guidelines to make sure our people stay safe. Wherever possible, teams are working from home. We’re really sorry if this means you hear some background noise from agents’ homes – please bear with us while we focus on resolving your issue and giving you the best possible service during this challenging time.
Are you seeing a big demand for water due to people washing their hands more?
We’re not seeing a surge in demand due to handwashing and our systems are designed to cope with increases in water usage.
I’ve run out of toilet paper and can’t get more – am I OK to use alternatives?
While we’d never advise using anything but toilet paper, we understand that stock shortages may mean you need to find alternatives for the moment.
But please remember that things like wet wipes, kitchen roll, sanitary products, and cotton pads can’t go down the loo and will need to thrown in the bin then disposed of safely. Any of these items can cause blockages if you flush them – and a backed-up toilet is the last thing you need at this challenging time.
The only things that should be flushed, at any time, are the 3 Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper. You can read more about what can and can’t go down the loo.
If you have lots of staff off sick, will you be able to continue providing water and treating sewage?
We’ve created specific, comprehensive plans to make sure we can continue to deliver essential water and wastewater services during challenging periods, including pandemics.
We also have several reservoirs, where we store clean treated water, to provide resilience for our supplies and make sure we can maintain a continuous supply of safe drinking water.
How can I improve my water pressure?
If your water pressure’s too low, you should check for any problems with the plumbing in your property, such as a leak or partially closed stop tap.
Water pressure tends to vary throughout the day, but if yours is consistently weak and you’re confident you don’t have any leaks, please see more advice and details of how we can help.
How are you taking care of your staff?
Our priority is to ensure everyone’s as safe as they can be while we continue to deliver our critical services to you. We’re following government health advice to make sure our customers and our people stay safe. We’re continually adapting the way we do things as we follow the latest advice on Coronavirus.
Why are you carrying out non-essential works on my street?
Delaying routine repairs and maintenance can increase the risk of more serious issues such as burst pipes. This would result in greater interruptions to our customers’ supplies.
When we do plan a repair on our water network and we’re going to turn the water off, we’ll give you at least 48 hours’ notice, in writing, so that you can make alternative arrangements. The safety and wellbeing of our staff and our customers is of utmost importance to us.