London, UK — (METERING.COM) — February 11, 2008 – U.K. Water Services Regulation Authority Ofwat has fined Southern Water a total of £20.3 million ($39.6 million) for deliberately misreporting information and delivering poor service to customers. Southern Water’s shareholders will bear the entire cost of this fine. It will not be passed on to its customers.
Ofwat Chief Executive Regina Finn said: "Southern Water behaved unacceptably in deliberately misreporting customer service performance to Ofwat and systematically manipulating information to conceal its true performance over an extended period of time and the company has acknowledged this."
The obligations on the companies to provide accurate and reliable data are designed to protect consumers in a monopoly environment. Without a choice of supplier, this protection is essential.
"We expect companies to comply with their obligations and this fine sends a clear message that non-compliance is not a cheap or easy option," said Ms Finn.
The penalty was set out on 14 November 2007 and was followed by a 28-day consultation period. Southern Water did not make any representations during the consultation on the initial proposal, but the company has the right to appeal to the courts if it disagrees with the amount of the fines or the imposition of the penalties.