Water regulator Ofwat has published this year’s performance review of water companies, and it does not make for good reading for Yorkshire Water.
It is among one of five companies ordered to pay back the most to their long-suffering customers.
In Ofwat’s review, Yorkshire Water fell into the lowest category of “lagging”.
Ofwat judges the performance of water companies in England and Wales each year against the targets they set in 2019 for a five-year period until 2025.
If they fail to meet these, Ofwat restricts the amount of money they can take from customers.
Yorkshire Water’s 5.7 million customers expected to receive a rebate of £19.8 million with the company meeting its targets on pollution incidents and leakage but failing on almost everything else.
It failed to meet its performance levels on drinking water quality, mains repairs and internal sewer flooding.
Yorkshire Water is owned by Kelda Group, which was established when the water industry was privatised in 1989 and is now owned by various investment funds from Europe, Australia, the US and Asia.
The company with the largest slice of shares – 33.56% – belongs to the state of Singapore, while Yorkshire Water reported a profit this year of £544.2 million.
In its report Ofwat said: “Having failed to meet its performance commitment in 2022-23, Yorkshire Water is the furthest from its 2024-25 performance commitment level.”
What Yorkshire Water say
This is the full statement from Yorkshire Water today.
“Despite last year being a challenging one, we made some great improvements in reducing leakage and pollution incidents, which we know are key areas that our customers care about.
“Whilst overall improvements take time, we are committed to doing more of what our customers expect and will continue to work closely with Ofwat on our plans.
“As a result of not meeting some of our commitments, there will be an adjustment to bills from April next year.
“We’ve always been clear that our plans for improving the health of Yorkshire’s rivers are on track and we’ve committed to delivering more improvements than we initially planned.
“Due to the significant amount of construction needed to improve over 765km’s of Yorkshire’s rivers, we’ve spent time designing, developing and securing planning permission for all the work that is needed, so we are confident that we are investing efficiently in the face of high inflation.
“As we said last year, in relation to the investments we are making for wastewater we have some major projects which will deliver just at the end of the five-year period.
“There is a wide range of investment taking place across our region, resulting in us investing £800 million this year in Yorkshire’s infrastructure.
“On top of all of this, alongside the work we originally committed to do, we’re investing an additional £180 million to reduce discharges from storm overflows, the majority of which is funded by shareholders, as well as bringing forward some investment we were planning beyond 2025.”