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Thames Water update - Presentation


Simon Moore and Tim MacMahon, Thames Water were present and outlined the presentation to Members. During the presentation the following main points were made –


·       Lessons had been learnt from the flooding in Upper Street and Queens Drive

·       2020-25 investment plans mean that bills will reduce by £23 on average. The regulatory final determination is very challenging - 33% less capital funding for improving key targets such as leakage

·       Considerable investment will need to be made by shareholders to meet key commitments

·       This is on top of £700m of extra investment over the last 3 years. As a result final agreement of the business plan is expected at the end of September

·       The 2020-25 investment plan aims to reduce leakage by 20%, and a 70% reduction in interruptions to customer supplies

·       Islington has one of the highest mains replacement rates of any borough Thames Water serves. 4000 smart meters have been installed since 2015 and that Thames were aware of a number of burst hotspots in the borough which require mains replacement to resolve and 7 schemes for mains replacement have been briefed. A further 30 schemes are under review

·       Queens Drive/Seven Sisters Road – relining of two sections of Victorian cast iron pipes and this will start in October lasting until Summer 2021 costing almost £7m. Councillors and residents have been invited to online engagement sessions to keep them informed of work

·       Thames are working with OFWAT on a further package of work for investment specifically in London water’s infrastructure April 2021

·       Thames operate 339km of distribution mains and 66km of trunk roads in Islington and have replaced over a third of Islington’s water network since 2000. This has contributed to a two thirds reduction in burst rates in the borough since 2008

·       Lessons were learnt a lot from the Upper Street bursts in 2016 e.g. a new for old insurance policy, 24/7 customer incident management response team, a clear document for customers for the aftermath of an event, delivered the trunk mains strategy review actions

·       In response to a question as to the risks of flooding to residents or loss of supply during the works on Queens Drive/Seven Sisters Road, it was stated that there should be no risk to residents

·       In response to a question Thames stated that the Board had been supportive of the proposals as they were long term investors and it was anticipated that they would support the investment plan, as failure to meet targets set would result in a large financial penalty from the regulator

·       It was stated that there had been minimal impact due to COVID, and that staff had had lot of briefings, hand sanitisers had been issued and social distancing was in place. Work had been scheduled to respond to reactive repairs rather than planned work

·       Thames had a customer hardship plan in place to target vulnerable customers who had difficulty paying bills due to COVID and that there is a Trust Fund that Thames contribute to who can support customers, and they had increased investment in this

·       Discussion took place as to the risk areas in Islington and if these were likely to lead to bursts it was stated that a strategy is in place for burst reduction

·       In response to a question as to the Sahara system in place in Canonbury ward it was stated that  the Sahara system was an advanced method of detecting leaks that identifies problems in the flow of water in the pipe. Replacement of mains pipes are extremely expensive

·       Reference was made to the need for better communication between Thames and Council officers/Councillors when works were going on. A Member referred to works on Whitecross Street which went on for a number of weeks, workmen went off site and drilling took place late at night. It was added that the response he had received from Thames was not satisfactory. Thames stated that they apologised for this and that they would investigate this matter, however Thames accepted there was a need for better communication with residents and Local Authorities, and that work needed to be completed as quickly as possible

·       Thames informed Members that they were undertaking a large transformation programme on the way that they operated, however this could take 2/3 years to complete


The Chair thanked Simon Moore and Tim MacMahon for attending


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