Hunt contacts Thames Water chief after outage leaves Chancellor ‘beside myself with frustration’ Business

Mr Hunt called for a water pumping station to be installed to ensure residents can access fresh water and said Thames should also consider giving out bottles of water.

Mr Hunt wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “I know many of you are hosting friends and family and this water outage is hugely inconvenient.”

Following Mr Hunt’s intervention, Alastair Cochran, Thames Water’s co-chief executive, said: “I’m really sorry if you’re experiencing low pressure or no water – I know how disruptive and inconvenient this can be, especially on Boxing Day.

“Our specialist engineers have now arrived and are working hard to get your water supply back to normal as quickly as possible.”

In response, Mr Hunt said: “I have to say I am beside myself with frustration that this is happening *again* and over Christmas. 

“If this is going to take any time at all we need a water station up and running asap.” 

In November, a similar outage left 12,000 people without fresh water for days on end. Tankers were deployed to the area to provide supplies. 

The outage comes as Thames Water seeks to raise £2.5bn from investors to shore up its long-term finances. 

Britain’s largest water supplier, which serves around 16 million people in London and the Thames Valley, was plunged into crisis over the summer by the sudden departure of chief executive Sarah Bentley.   

Her exit triggered immediate concerns about the company balance sheet, including its £14.7bn debt pile. 

The company is now trying to convince investors to back its turnaround plans, amid fears that failure to raise the money will lead to its nationalisation. 

Thames attempted to ease fears about its finances by announcing it had raised £500m of “equity” from investors. 

But it later emerged that the money was first provided to the supplier’s parent company, Kemble Water, in the form of a convertible loan with an interest rate of 8pc. 

During a grilling by MPs earlier this month, Mr Cochran admitted that Thames did not currently have enough money to repay a £190m loan due for repayment next April. 

In an attempt to bring its finances back on to a sustainable footing, Thames is seeking to put up customer bills over the next decade.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-26 12:16:25

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