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Key workers keep vital water services running

Monday 11th January 2021 13:00

Two engineers wearing orange overalls carry a pipe in front of a Thames Water sign.

Thames Water is reminding customers they will continue to see the company’s engineers working in their communities to maintain essential water and wastewater services, following the government’s latest lockdown announcement.

People working in the water and sewerage industry have been identified by the government as key workers. This means Thames Water staff, who cannot fulfil their roles from home, are required to be out working in roads, at water and sewage treatment sites and in the company’s control and customer centre offices, in line with official health advice.

Karl Simons OBE, Thames Water’s chief health, safety and wellbeing officer, said: “Throughout this pandemic, we’ve been committed to deliver essential water and wastewater services. As key workers we’re continuing to provide clean water for handwashing and hygiene and taking away wastewater, which is vital for public health.

“Our customers will continue to see our engineers out in their communities carrying out essential work on our vast network. I’d like to reassure them that the health and safety of our employees and customers is always our top priority, and we’ll therefore continue to closely follow government health advice as best we can while keeping our pipes flowing.”

Last year Thames Water engineers worked behind the scenes to help set up the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London and dealt with a 20 per cent rise in sewer blockages during the first national lockdown.

Thames Water also put in place a range of measures for customers who may benefit from some additional support and is continuing these initiatives while the outbreak continues.

This includes:

  • Launching a flexible payments scheme for customers who have been financially affected by COVID-19; nearly 7,000 customers have benefited from this so far.
  • Committing £4 million to its Customer Assistance Fund which provides debt support and financial help for customers with outstanding bills.
  • Becoming the largest charitable funder of debt advice within the Thames Valley region after doubling its independent Trust Fund donation to £1 million to support customers who are in financial need.

The company also donated £400,000 to community organisations and charities it works with to help them pay business costs resulting from loss of income, such as fundraising opportunities, during this difficult time.

Thames Water has a dedicated coronavirus webpage where customers can go to find out how the company is working during the outbreak and how to access support options for those who need help paying their water bill.