September 2023, Maidstone, Kent: MP Helen Grant has had a review meeting with the bosses of South East Water to find out what measures they have introduced to better serve their customers.
This followed a hosepipe ban in August 2022 following the dry summer, severe water outages just before Christmas in 2022 and further water supply interruptions in January 2023. Mrs Grant called an initial meeting with the leadership of South East Water in February this year to establish the facts and get an action plan in place and there was subsequently another outage in June this year which added to the pressure on SEW to make changes.
Whilst the loss of water supply was a huge problem, other issues that caused concern and distress were poor communication from SEW to customers about supply losses and repair progress reports, lack of bottled water supply stations, and insufficient alternative water supplies generally. The New measures being introduced directly address the issues raised at Mrs Grant’s meeting in February.
On Communications: South East Water have launched their new ‘Aqualerter’ customer SMS (text message) system where affected customers will receive a text message update from SEW. The company already have numbers for 75% of Customers For customers who are yet to provide a number, or perhaps are unsure, they can click here to login and update their account details.
Alternate Water Supply Locations: SEW have appointed a permanent Alternate Water Manager to develop bespoke local alternate water plans in conjunction with local resilience forums, district and parish councils, taking advantage of their wealth of local knowledge and resources. This is to create a far more effective roll-out of bottled water stations and alternate water supplies.
More alternate water supplies: SEW have also purchased a further two water tankers, bringing the total up to three, giving greater capacity, flexibility and quicker response times.
Last week’s meeting was also attended by Councillors Lottie Parfitt-Reid and John Perry, to hold SEW to account. MP Helen Grant said “The new measures being introduced by SEW are positive. They still have much to do, however, for the medium and longer-term planning for water supplies as we learn to adapt to a world of changing demand and climate. That means major investment in reservoirs, water tanks, pipes and other infrastructure as well as seeking ways to reduce customer demand. I will be staying in close touch with SEW as the winter approaches.”