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28 November 2006

Water Chiefs Admit Errors In Letter To MSP

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has received an apology to his constituents from water bosses after businesses faced huge bills as a result of undercharging due to errors made by meter readers.

Mr Stevenson wrote to Scottish Water after frequent reports of errors in the reading of water meters at local businesses demanding an urgent investigation, which has now been carried out.

In his letter to the Banff & Buchan MSP, Scottish Water Chief Executive Dr Jon Hargreaves admits:

“I can advise that on the occasions referred to in your letter, our [meter] reading programme in a specific geographical area was compromised during a period extending to one year. As a direct result of this compromise, I have to advise that our high standards were not achieved.”

The letter continues:

“I can confirm that the investigations produced a comprehensive review into how we utilised our meter reading programme. The need to raise performance standards and expectations of all meter reading contractors was paramount.”

Mr Stevenson – who has asked water officials to meet with him in the Scottish Parliament - commented:

“This is an extremely serious matter for the businesses concerned. In one case, a business faced a quarterly bill of ten times the norm.

“I am pleased that Scottish Water have had an investigation and have identified the cause. However, water meter users in my constituency need an assurance that there will be no repetition of this disgraceful episode and that is why I am requesting that water officials meet with me in Parliament to discuss these concerns.

“This is all the more important as water billing for businesses have now been transferred to an offshoot of Scottish Water – ‘Business Stream’ – in advance of the introduction of competition so it is vital that they get this right.”

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