Very interesting evening and worth making the effort.
I feared having a 'John Lydon on Question time moment' but survived
The invited guests included 4 from TW, head of the Inst of Civil engineers, Martin Low City Commissioner for Transportation in Westminster, Innes Jones top bod of the EA West Thames.. and the volunteer from Surbiton.
Much of the talk was about the drought and how close it came to an emergency order being issued, the need for a new reservoir etc. I stated our support for the Thames Tideway Tunnel and questioned why if Uk PLC are will to pay £33 billion for HS2, then why is 4 bn for the Tunnel not also being paid for. The Tunnel appears to have another seal of approval from the government so I fully expect it to get built, very good news.
Much about pricing and how valuable water is a commodity, they said the the water awareness campaign around the drought had be successful in reducing demand.
Martin Low talked about the issues they have with relentless roadworks from utilities and said that TW are one of the better ones. A few of the cabling (telecom) companies are a nightmare and is worried about a major comms fault which could hit commerce in spectacular fashion. He said that 1 in 5 excavations are aborted due too not finding the asset they thought was there, a shocking fact.
I questioned whether TW had under invested since privatisation in 1989, that in terms of the hundreds of CSO's that still remain with temporary licences, no real answer but do expect something back soon. They live under pricing constraints from OFWAT so any increases are hard fought. That shouldnt be an excuse for under investment but the do have shareholders who expect a dividend.
I said that TW have a major image problem and do get blamed for every ill. If you look at leakage targets whilst TW do lose a lot, they are being reduced unlike most of the other companies. On pollution again TW are bad but not as bad as Southwest Water who have been fined at least 10 times in the last year.
If you look at water companies failing overall for OFWATS Key Performances Indicators (KPI's), then TW do not feature.
(Below is from the ENDS report)The KPIs are designed to show whether legal and regulatory obligations are being complied with, as well as indicating whether water firms are broadly meeting customer expectations. Ofwat told water companies to publish the KPIs on their websites by 15 July, as well as submit them to the regulator as part of an annual ‘risk and compliance’ statement by this date.
The six environmental KPIs are:
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
Discharge permit compliance (%)
Satisfactory sludge disposal (%)
Drinking water pollution incidents (category 1-3 incidents per 10,000km of main)
Sewage pollution incidents (category 1-3 incidents per 1,000km of sewer)
Serious sewage pollution incidents (category 1-2 incidents per 10,000km of sewer).
Ofwat guidance states that each KPI must be displayed in a traffic light format: red (significantly below expectation), amber (slightly below expectation) or green (at or above expectation). The thresholds are different for each indicator.
Water and sewerage companies are expected to report on all six environmental KPIs, whereas standalone water companies only report the two indicators for GHG emissions and water pollution incidents.
KPI results compiled by ENDS reveal that drinking water pollution incidents and sewerage pollution incidents for six of the ten water and sewerage companies (Anglian, Welsh, Severn Trent, Southern, South West and Yorkshire Water) were below the performance expected by Ofwat (see table). All ten water and sewerage companies failed to meet Ofwat’s performance expectation for at least one of the three sewage pollution and water pollution indicators.
We are no supporter of TW but there are much worse for sure, it does help that one of their directors is an angler fishing for all the same as us.
Think thats about it, there was more but I glazed over at times and was thinking about fishing the next day
All in all, the TAC at the big table, no Thames 21 invited, no TEP, River Thames society, just us.