Thursday, 22 September 2011

Thames Water Update - Still No Meter Fitted

It's over a month since I wrote about the problems I've had getting Thames Water to install a water meter at my property. Thames Water thinks it's so well run it paid it's Chief Executive £1.6m last year.

Thames Water's Director of Customer Services Mike Tempest did email to apologise that 5 months have passed since I requested a meter. Thames will pay me £90 compensation for their failure to keep their Guaranteed Standards and to say how sorry they are. They also promised to fit a meter between 10 and 12 on Saturday 10th September.

The plumber (from a subcontractor H2O) arrived at 8.30 and then skulked away after waking me up. He returned on the dot of 10am and apologised he'd rung my bell so early - he hadn't read the job sheet properly. This is the first time Thames have ever done anything for me ahead of their schedule.

But the plumber didn't fit a meter as promised by Thames, he advised it would be better fitted at the outside stop-cock in the front garden, so a crew would have to come and do that on another day.

A week later a company called Vennsy's called to tell me they would call on Tuesday 20th September at 8.30 to fit the meter. I told them I wouldn't be in, but gave them permission to access my front garden. They called me at lunchtime on the agreed day to say they hadn't been able to fit a meter. They couldn't park their van in my street. I wish I'd been there, parking isn't a common problem where I live. They promised to phone the next day and re-arrange the appointment. I didn't hear from them again until two days later.

Today Vennsy's finally phoned back. They'll try and do the job next Wednesday between 8 and 10am. I don't mind, Thames Water promise a £50 compensation payment when they don't keep an appointment. I reckon I'm £50 up already.

Vennsys were awarded a 10 year contract in January 2011 to carry out all Thames Water's meter installations. Thames said as they announced the deal 'Ten year contracts are unusual in the water sector' but it 'demonstrates the importance of metering'.

Well done Thames and Vennsys, your partnership is a triumph. I presume this must be the same contractor who turned up at my property in March, and didn't fit a meter or bother to contact me, or let Thames know they hadn't done the job.

I'll be writing to The Consumer Council for Water and regulator Ofwat to advise them just how committed Thames Water has been to fitting a water meter at my property. I'll also email this blog to Mike Tempest so he can see how well the partnership with Vennsys is working.

Update: Shortly after receiving this blog Thames Water's Head of Customer Services telephoned me. Apparently the Chief Executive and Director of Services met on Friday morning to discuss the handling of my complaint. Their contractor Vennsy's is also being summoned to head offfice to account for their service standards. My meter will be fitted on Wednesday - and Thames Water will send a field supervisor to ensure the job is completed.
Further Update: At 11:15am on Wednesday 28 September 6 months after I requested one Thames Water finally fitted a water meter at my property. I emailed them 3 times, phoned them once, and wrote to the Chief Executive twice. They visited my property 5 times before they successfully met their statutory obligation. They have agreed to pay me £90 compensation under the Government imposed Guaranteed Service Standards scheme. I would of course cease to be a Thames Water customer if I had any choice but I don't.