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Defra’s response to coverage on Thames Water

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There has been widespread reporting in recent days on Thames Water and its financial position.

This is a matter for the company, which has said it continues to work with its shareholders and has liquidity position of £2.4 billion.

Ofwat monitors the financial position of all water companies, ensuring they take action when long term financial resilience needs to be strengthened

Within government we always prepare for a range of scenarios across our regulated industries, including water, and remain in close contact with Ofwat.

A Government spokesperson said: 

Like any company needing to secure new investment there are a wide range of options available to water companies, including the injection of new equity from any prospective investors.

Ofwat, as the financial regulator of the water sector, continues to engage with Thames Water to improve its financial resilience.

We prepare for a range of scenarios across our regulated industries - including water - as any responsible government would.

A Ofwat spokesperson said: 

Safeguards are in place to ensure that services to customers are protected regardless of issues faced by shareholders of Thames Water.

Today's update from Thames Water means the company must now pursue all options to seek further equity for the business to turn around the performance of the company for customers. Thames Water is a business with a regulatory capital value of £19 billion, with £2.4 billion of liquidity available, and an annual regulated revenue of £2billon and new leadership team.

Ofwat’s PR24 price control will put customer and environmental priorities at the heart of the water sector. In order to drive this change, we need to ensure that the sector attracts investment and is fair to bill payers. Since 2020 nearly £4.6 billion new equity has been injected into the sector. We will set out our draft determinations in June this year.

We also need to see companies deliver the performance that customers expect and that they are run in a way that meets customers' expectations.


What action is being taken to secure Thames Water’s future?

Ofwat, as the economic regulator of the water sector, has been engaging with Thames Water to improve its financial resilience.

There are a wide range of options available to any water company, such as the injection of new equity, when they are required to strengthen their financial resilience.

Given water companies are commercial entities, it would be inappropriate for government to comment specifically on Thames Water.

What is your view on the water sector being privatised?

Privatisation has unlocked £215 billion of capital investment which has delivered a significant range of benefits to customers and the environment.

This is equivalent to around £5 billion annually in investment, almost double the pre-privatisation level.

What contingency plans does the government have if Thames Water becomes insolvent?

We have set out to the House of Commons more information about how a special administration would work. Should a special administration order ever be needed for any water company, the statutory purpose of the order would be to ensure that the company continues to operate and that customers continue to receive their water and wastewater services.

Will there be any impact on water supplies?

No. Customers will not experience any change or disruption to their water supply as a consequence of the financial position of their water company.

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