Thames Water has been ordered to pay back £120 million to customers for failing to fix leaking taps and pipes.
It follows Ofwat’s investigation which found the water company “did not have sufficient oversight and control” of its leakage performance and underestimated the significance of its underperformance.
Thames Water agreed to repay £65 million on top of the £55 million in automatic penalties incurred by the company for missing the commitment it made to customers to reduce leaks.
That means each customer will receive a total rebate of around £15 over the next two years.
The water company is required to publish its performance each month in tackling leaks and make additional leakage reductions of 15% by 2025.
Ofwat Chief Executive Rachel Fletcher said: “High leakage creates unnecessary strain on the environment, excess costs for customers and increased risk of water shortages. A well-run water company will have a good understanding of the condition of its pipes and will be able to reduce leakage over time.
“Thames has assured us that they now have a grip on the leakage situation but this should serve as a catalyst for the company to improve how it delivers on its wider commitments to customers.”
Thames Water said reducing leakage is “really important” to the company.
Chief Executive Steve Robertson added: “We met our leakage targets for a decade but our recent performance has not been good enough. We let our customers down and for that we’re sorry. We have taken more control of how we manage the network and are investing significantly more in people and resources to tackle leakage, get back on track and then go beyond.
“Thanks to these changes already in place, our current leakage repair performance is our best ever at around 1,000 a week. Our focus is to restore customers’ trust and confidence in Thames Water.”