Thames Water made profits of £150m last year, and gave shareholders £92m - so why is it wanting to charge customers an extra £30?
Homeowners and businesses have been urged to use water "wisely" despite one of the wettest years on record in 2012.
Householders in the South are to be hit with the largest increase in water bills this year.
Thames Water have confirmed that they will continue their attempts to restore drinking water to customers living in the RG8 area.
Odour from a newly repaired water pipe was making tap water smell last night and customers are strongly advised against drinking it.
Despite this, experts have agreed today there is “minimal public health risk".
22,000 litres of bottled water has already been delivered to sites across the region with five water tankers - another 16,000 litres have been ordered for Friday night.
Fifty static tanks each carrying 100 litres will be available in the morning.
The areas affected by the disruption are Streatley, Ashampstead, Upper Basildon and a small part of Pangbourne.
– Simon Earl, Thames Water’s head of water production
The risk to public health is very low and this is being done as a precaution. Drinking water standards in the UK are very high and we take any quality issues very seriously. The situation is improving but the safety of our customers is of paramount importance. We’re working as quickly as possible to return things to normal, and as soon as we have confirmation the water is safe to drink again we will issue an all-clear notice."
You've woken up. You've just had a glass of water or sipped a cup of tea. Then you notice a warning leaflet pushed through your front door saying 'Don't Drink The Water!' That's what happened to people in parts of Berkshire today.
Thames Water has issued a warning to 1500 customers - with an RG8 postcode. That's people in the Moulsford, Streatley and Pangbourne areas. They've been told not to drink their tap water, due to a strange smell. Bottled water is being distributed - but there's only so much available.
Some families say there's been too little information. Asana Greenstreet reports.
A school in Berkshire has been closed after a contamination has restricted water in the area
Upper Basildon school has been closed after Thames Water have warned customers not to drink or use tap water.
Thames Water customers in Berkshire have be warned not to use tap water after an 'unusual odour' to their water supply.
The water company have asked customers to refrain from drinking, cooking or cleaning teeth with the water from their taps.
They have said they will provide bottled water whilst they work to resolve any issues.
Video. Would you mind paying extra on your water bill for a project in London? Well, Thames Water wants to increase its charges by eight per cent for all households across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Wiltshire - in order to do just that. Juliette Fletcher reports.
Water regulator Ofwat have challenged Thames Water's plans to increase consumer bills.
The requested increase could add a further eight per cent and around £29 to an annual average household bill.
Ofwat is assessing Thames's application to determine whether increases are justified.
Ofwat is making counter-claims to Thames Water about their underspend on sewer flooding, a spillage in their sewage scheme and not adequately maintaining its wastewater network.
Ofwat’s Chief Regulation Officer Sonia Brown said:
“We have been clear that we would challenge Thames’ proposed bill increase. So we are looking to see if there are areas where we can claim money back for customers.”
Ofwat will examine whether there is a case for clawing back gains through this mechanism from Thames.
Plans for Thames Water to charge their customers a one-off surcharge of approximately £29 have been greeted with anger on social media site Twitter.
Surely risk of Thames Water's "unforeseen circumstances" belongs to its shareholders, not its customers? Cut dividends, don't hike bills!
Let's be clear, Thames Water. I pay my bill. others don't, so I have to pay again. And if I refuse to pay I am cut off. OK, perfectly fair.
Dear @thameswater , please hire someone like myself to go over your accounts, you can easily raise the money without raising your bills!
Thames Water have applied to water regulator Ofwat to charge customers a one-off surcharge on top of their bill of £29 pounds. The company said they have been forced to deal with "unquantifiable" costs that they were not aware of when Ofwat set price limits back in 2009. Increased costs include:
- Increases in bad debt as a result of the economic downturn
- Increases to Environment Agency charges
- The costs of operating and maintaining the additional 40,000 km of sewers that were transferred to Thames Water by the government in October 2011
- Costs of land acquisition and other preparatory work required for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel
Thames Water has written to Ofwat, the industry regulator, to ask permission to charge customers an addition one-off fee of about £29 per household.
The money is to cover the costs they have spent on acquiring new land for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. In a statement, Thames Water said:
"Thames Water has submitted an application to Ofwat, its industry regulator, for an interim adjustment to prices for the current price control period, which runs from April 2010 to March 2015.
"The biggest item of expenditure involved is £273m spent on acquiring land required for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
"If approved by Ofwat, the net impact would result in a single, one-off additional cost of about £29 per household in 2014/15, equivalent to nearly £6 per year over the five-year period. "