Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 21/Jun/2006: "The Drought"

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The Drought

Picture of cracked dried out ground

So Thames Water misses their leak target while their profits go up. That's good to hear, at least now I know why my water bill went up by 7% this April after having increased by 36% the previous year (I'm with Thames Water, who just a few days ago applied for a drought order). After all we had a really dry winter, didn't we?

Well, at least that's debatable, there seems to be at least some spin involved. So it's all about money then? Probably, as Severn Trent reported very similar results. Me as a consumer/customer, same as others, is quite pissed off with this. Yes, I understand that they need to raise money to pay for the repairs and therefore need to keep investors happy. But wasn't privatisation supposed to bring down prices and increase competition? Well, an increase of well over 40% over two years combined with requests to conserve water to beat the drought doesn't fit that promise. There is no competition either, as far as I'm aware I have no choice over my water supplier.

As far as I can tell from the financial statements the directors were paid substantial bonuses last year. Sure, they might have fulfilled the expectations of their stakeholders, but have they fulfilled the expectations of their customers? Looking at Thames Water's "Corporate Responsibility Policy" I read: We take pride in looking after our customers and aim to provide an effective and accessible service. And: Provide our customers with safe reliable and affordable water supply and sanitation services. That doesn't sound like huge price jumps and drought orders to me, let alone missed leakage targets while increasing profits. If these policy statements have flown (pun kind of intended) into the bonuses I would expect next years bonuses to be severely reduced. But then I doubt that will happen...

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