Water firm slammed by wife of disabled man for lack of help over ‘dry weekend’

Water firm slammed by wife of disabled man for lack of help over ‘dry weekend’

by Tom Martin (August 2022)

HOUSEHOLDS who recently went a weekend without running water have received compensation from United Utilities - but the company has come under fire for not doing enough to help vulnerable people.

Around 30,000 homes had no tap water for the weekend July 23-24 due to the burst water pipe in Litherland.

United Utilities is to pay compensation payouts, ranging from £60-£90 depending on how long the property  went without water.

An  email from UU, seen by the Champion, states that the company “sincerely apologises” for the incident and states that compensation we will be “proactively” send to householders.

It states that the company has data loggers so it can see who is experiencing disruption at any point in time which will help it identify how long you homes effected and what payment would be made to them.

While the taps were off a fleet of 33 water tankers were used to ‘inject water’ into the pipes at various locations to try and keep as many customers on with water as possible.

Bottled water stations were also set up and gave out more than 120,000 bottles.

But United Utilities has been criticised by Julie Lowe, whose husband is disabled, for poor communication and for not doing enough to help vulnerable people.

Julie, from Waterloo, said: “ I appreciate this was an unforeseen occurrence, but United Utilities' response was just not good enough! 

“The website directed me to only one source of bottled water on the first day, at the Netherton Activity Centre, to be picked up by 9.30pm. 

“My husband and I had been out all day, and it was 9.20pm when I got the message.

“I raced across from Waterloo only to be told by staff that it was in fact open until midnight, and that the customer texts and website were wrong.”

She added: “They were limiting bottled water and saying we needed to return each day.

“ I told the staff that my husband is disabled, and I could not leave him and return the next day, but they said to ring UU to register as a vulnerable client, but that it might take a while to get a response.

“I tried calling the UU vulnerable customer telephone number that night and the next day, and it gave a message directing me to their website, and cut me off.

“I think it is outrageous that a national supplier of something as essential for life as water, particularly in hot weather, would not have an operative telephone line for two or three days  during a crisis like this.”

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