South West Water 'on course' despite economic storms
Half year results announced today (Thursday 27 November) by its parent group Pennon show South West Water delivering for customers despite the triple threat of credit crunch, volatile energy prices and global recession.
From April to the end of September, South West Water spent £67.4 million – or £368,306 per day – on improving the region's water and sewage infrastructure and protecting its environment.
This investment included £48.5 million spent on relining or replacing 180 kilometres of corroded water mains in towns across the region including Exeter, Plymouth, St Ives, Wadebridge, Salcombe and Tiverton.
Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "No business can claim it is immune from the economic turbulence we have seen recently but we have remained firmly on course despite the storms around us.
"Our huge investment in upgrading our customer service continues apace and we are still managing to beat our efficiency targets while maintaining our excellent record on tackling leakage and improving drinking water quality.
"Despite the credit crunch, we also have the finance we need in place at some of the lowest rates in the industry. Of course, energy and chemical prices are an issue which is why it makes sense to continue with our innovative plans to reduce our own use of water and power and encouraging our customers to use water wisely."
Highlights for South West Water in the Pennon results for the first half of 2008/09 include:
- Meeting its leakage target for the eighth year in row and every year since targets were first set
- 3,000 customers benefiting from its pioneering WaterCare scheme, which has been singled out as a role model for the industry
- Maintaining drinking water quality at an all time high
- The 12th consecutive year without any form of water restrictions in the region
- Exceeding five year efficiency saving targets 18 months ahead of schedule
Notes to Editors
1) Pennon Group is British-owned, based in Exeter and listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Its two main subsidiaries are Exeter-based South West Water, which supplies water and sewerage services to Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset, and Taunton-based Viridor, which offers waste management solutions across the UK.
2) Pennon Group recorded operating profits of £136.8 million – up 9.8% - and profits before tax of £86.8 million in the first half of 2008/09 – up 3.2%. South West Water's operating profits were £101.8 million- up 3.9%.
3) WaterCare started in April 2007 and offers free benefit entitlement checks and water-saving devices to qualifying customers. It was highlighted in the government's Future Water report as a possible model to help customers struggling to pay their bills across the nation
4) Credit crunch – South West Water has its finance in place at some of the lowest rates in the industry – 5%. An additional £100 million funding facility was agreed with the European Investment Bank earlier this month.
5) Industry regulator Ofwat set South West Water a target of £13 million per year in efficiency savings between 2005 and 2010. This target was passed 18 months early.
6) Energy – As part of its Draft Business Plan for 2010 to 2015, the company has tabled proposals to reduce its own water use in its treatment processes and to help business and domestic customers to use less.
Staff are now taking part in the Megawatt Challenge to cut their workplace energy use. Those with the best ideas are rewarded with home environmental products.
November 27, 2008