Thames Water profits take a bath as it tries to improve customer service

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THAMES Water issued a mea culpa to customers today over past shoddy service and vowed to do better after a slide in profits. 

“We’ve lagged behind others in our customer services in recent years but we’re seeing record performances in resolving complaints first time and we’re working hard to accelerate our rate of improvement,” chief executive Steve Robertson said. 

The company has hired  500 more people to improve service, which will cost an extra £20 million annually.

Customer complaints have fallen fast in response to more hiring into call centres and its waste business, with total complaints down 5%. 

The hiring spree, plus the cost of the new Lee Tunnel and an IT upgrade, weighed on half-year pre-tax profits, down to £127.3 million from £216.8 million.   

Revenues were flat, excluding £15.2 million made from a new levy on customers to fund the forthcoming Tideway tunnel.

Thames was also caught out by tumbling gilt yields. Net losses on derivatives like interest-rate swaps rose to £180 million from £12 million on 30 September. Those were paper losses and should ease given the recent rise in yields.

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November 26, 2016 |
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