Water compo figures make customers boil

Water bosses have re-opened the old wound over compensation for Lancashire's cryptosporidium outbreak last year.
Flashback to the 2015 water crisis in LancashireFlashback to the 2015 water crisis in Lancashire
Flashback to the 2015 water crisis in Lancashire

Consumers affected by a boil water notice in parts of Greater Manchester for less than three days this week have been given £20 payouts - just £40 less than customers in the Preston, South Ribble, Chorley and Fylde Coast areas received for a entire month without supplies in 2015.

“How fair is that?” stormed Dave Swanton, customer services director and head of media at Sale Sharks Rugby Club, who lives in Chorley.

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“We got £60, had no water for weeks and they haven’t found out, or announced, what the problem was.”

Supplies in Tameside and Oldham were affected due to a problem at a water treatment plant. Residents were advised to boil all water, or use bottled. United Utilities announced yesterday all 17,000 households affected would get £20.

The level of payments made to 300,000 consumers in Lancashire in 2015 - £50 to £60 - sparked wholesale protests by consumers at the time.

Dave, who is also a Post columnist and a broadcaster with BBC local radio, said he was shocked when he heard the announcement on his car radio on the way to work in Manchester. “UU were quick to announce they were issuing bottle water,” he said. We never got any in 2015 as I had to bring some home from work for everyone in our cul-de-sac. The water was back on in Tameside and Oldham within three days. Then it was announced all resident were getting £20 compensation. I nearly crashed the car.”

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“I studied commerce and economics and I know the meaning of pro-rata. So please UU are you going to pay us on a sliding scale you applied to Tameside and Oldham?”

A United Utilities spokesman said it had worked with water watchdog, the Consumer Council for Water, to set “the right figure to fairly reflect loss of service and inconvenience caused.”