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Thames Water Utilities Ltd announces results for full year ending March 31, 2020

Tuesday 30th June 2020 06:00

Two Thames Water engineers inside a tunnel

Key highlights

  • Robust response to the impact of Covid-19, ensuring resilient supplies and extra support for customers, communities, care homes and hospitals
  • Recorded the industry’s biggest reduction in leakage this century to exceed target. Fixed 200 leaks every day, on average
  • Reduced water supply interruptions by more than half
  • Vast majority of 3.6 million households moved to new relationship management and billing platform to boost customer experience and reduce complaints
  • Stonewall Diversity Champion and first water company to be awarded Disability Confident Leader status
  • Sarah Bentley to start as new CEO on September 1, 2020

Ian Marchant, interim executive chairman of Thames Water Utilities Limited, said: “I’m very proud of the way our key workers have risen to the challenge during these unprecedented and rapidly evolving times, when water service resilience is more critical than ever. We’ve also stepped up our financial support for customers who find themselves in increasingly vulnerable circumstances, especially those affected by the virus.

"As always, reducing leakage was one of our top priorities last year. Given the age and location of much of our water network, we all knew it would be incredibly challenging, so it was really encouraging to exceed our target and drive leakage down to its lowest level since privatisation.

“After a period of unprecedented change and refocus to get Thames Water on track, culminating in the appointment of our new CEO, we’re well positioned to address the significant challenges ahead. There’s still lots to do, but we’ve taken a good step closer to where we want to be and remain committed to building our reputation as a company that provides a resilient service in a way our customers, stakeholders and employees can be proud of.”

Customer service and social contract

  • Number of customers on social tariffs has more than doubled. WaterHelp tariff offers 50% reduction for low income families
  • More than 80,000 customers on priority services register for extra support during operational incidents, an 18% year-on-year increase
  • Deployment of new industry-leading billing and customer management system to improve experience and revenue assurance as written complaints increase to 33,738 (18/19 21,108)
  • Commitment to spend £2 billion in 2020/21 to make improvements for customers in a smart and efficient way

Generating public value

  • £1 million to be invested in independent trust fund and £400,000 donated to new relief fund to support community partners in financially vulnerable circumstances due to Covid-19
  • More than 100 sites – including Walthamstow Wetlands – open to the public for free, offering recreational and educational activities and promoting a healthier wellbeing
  • Engaged with over 35,000 young people to promote care for water and inspire the next generation of engineers
  • Self-generated over 23% of our electricity needs as part of our commitment to net zero carbon emissions from our operations by 2030

Financial overview

  • £513.4 million underlying* operating profit (Mar 19: £474.1 million restated)
  • £244.6 million total profit after tax (Mar 19: £103.3 million restated)
  • Capital investment of £1.2 billion in our network and other assets (Mar 19: £1.2 billion), with around £16 billion invested over the last 16 years
  • No distributions to external shareholders for third year in a row (Mar 19: £nil). £56.5 million paid to our immediate parent company to service group interest obligations and working capital requirements (Mar 19: £60.0 million)
  • Paid over £196 million in business rates, national insurance contributions, PAYE and other taxes

Operational performance

  • Best leakage performance for more than 30 years, exceeding our regulatory target after a 95 million litres per day year-on-year reduction
  • Achieved 99.97% drinking water quality compliance (Mar 19: 99.96%) to remain among the best in the industry
  • Reduced water supply interruptions to 7.2 minutes per property served (2019 15.6mins)
  • Best performance of the regulatory period for sewage treatment works compliance at 99.71% (2019 98.85%). Completed major upgrade of Deephams sewage treatment works
  • Maintained 3-star Environmental Performance Assessment rating, but pollution incidents up to 321 (2019 295). Reducing blockages and pollutions by 10% a priority for this year

* Underlying performance excludes amounts relating to Bazalgette Tunnel Limited (otherwise known as Tideway), the company responsible for constructing the Thames Tideway Tunnel ‘supersewer’.