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26 December 22

Affinity Water thanks its customers for helping to keep water running during the big thaw

Affinity Water has thanked its 3.6 million customers across the South East of England for remaining calm and patient during the recent severe cold weather snap as the Company repaired hundreds of burst pipes and leaks across its region. It has again issued an apology for the loss of supply in some areas.

It is also informing them that information will be posted regularly on the Alert section of its website to say how urgent repairs are progressing. They can find out more at affinitywater.co.uk/alerts

All homes should now have water although some will still be experiencing low pressure. The Company is asking customers to use water wisely at peak times while reservoir levels, which remain low due to the number of burst pipes, are fully restored.

Earlier the company joined forces with Anglian Water to issue emergency advice on the need to lag exposed pipes and find out where their stop taps were to prevent bursts when the sub-zero temperatures begin to rise. The trade body Water UK has also distributed similar messaging across the UK.

The Company also put its emergency teams on standby who have worked around the clock before and during the Christmas period. Customers have remained patient and have been thanking the teams for their work and bringing them mince pies to show their appreciation.

In two Affinity Water areas in its Central Region, Bishop Stortford and Oxhey, so far 96,000 bottles of water have been handed out at emergency stations, by approximately 65 volunteers from around the Affinity Water business and their contractors who have been on hand to help when water supplies are lost. Another 70,000 bottles were sent to Priority Service customers in case their supplies went off. Two tankers were brought in to keep a hospital in supply in what was a problematic and complex outage. The company has also been working with retailers to reduce customer side leakage.

A spokesperson said: “We want to thank our customers and the media for responding to our “Are You Ready for Winter?” campaign asking them to check their homes to ensure exposed pipes are lagged and that they know where to find their stop taps. We sent out thousands of emails directly to them and asked the media to spread the word too and I am pleased to say that we know our messaging landed with them. If they want to check up on how any possible repairs to leaks in their areas are progressing we ask them to go to the alert section of our website which we keep updated regularly but thankfully most supplies are now restored.

“Our repair teams have been working tirelessly around the clock and over Christmas to mend leaks as and when they occur, and we informed our customers that we needed to prioritise those that are most serious first. We have also had volunteer teams on hand to distribute bottled water to those who may be without water or who are on our Priority Services Register. It was rewarding to our teams to find that our customers really appreciated their hard work by being kind and bringing them mince pies and offering to get teas and coffees as a thank you.

“Our customers should now have a water supply, although some customers may experience low pressure at times, whilst pressure continues to build in the network. If your area has been seriously impacted we really need your help to only use water for essential use, such as drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Please avoid using anything that uses a lot of water such as washing machines, dishwashers and other electrical appliances, as this will help bring up the levels quicker. If you have no water at the cold kitchen tap or outside garden tap let us know. As a precaution bottled water will still be available for collection if customers need it at our designated hand-out stations.”

You can find out more about low pressure.

Top tips and how to videos:

  • Affinity Water is advising customers to check on what they should do to prevent further bursts by visiting its website with some handy how-to videos.

To prevent burst pipes

  • Insulate exposed water pipes with felt, pipe wrap or other insulating material and cover any outside pipe or fitting with a waterproof material. DIY stores have everything you need
  • Make sure your cold-water tank is insulated and that your central heating boiler has been serviced
  • If you have an outside tap, insulate it too
  • Check where your stop tap is to isolate your water supply and make sure you can turn it off. Most are under the sink
  • Leave central heating on a frost protection setting overnight or if you are going away for a few days
  • Make your home more energy efficient and have boilers serviced and bleed radiators
  • If you are planning on leaving your home or office unattended for a long period, turn off the water supply

If a burst happens

If pipes do freeze, turn off the stop tap, slowly thaw the pipes near where it enters the house with a hair dryer, a towel soaked in hot water or a hot water bottle. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw a pipe. If a pipe bursts, turn off the stop tap, leave an internal tap on to allow thawed water to escape and contact a qualified plumber.

When looking for a plumber, it is recommended to select one that is a member of an approved contractor scheme, such as WaterSafe. Approved businesses can be found at: www.watersafe.org.uk/ by typing in your postcode. Or call 0333 207 9030.

Vulnerable Customers and Friends

Affinity Water are also asking customers to check in on their vulnerable friends and relatives and to get them to contact them through their websites should they need help with paying their bills and ensuring they receive water at all times.

Affinity Water’s free Priority Services Register can be found at affinitywater.co.uk/priority-services to ensure they are supported in the event of any supply issues this winter. The Company is also offering help in certain circumstance with paying bills: affinitywater.co.uk/helpmepay

Affinity Water customers can also find out how to save water and save money on their bills by taking a three minute My Water Footprint quiz today. They can get free water-saving device too, find out more at affinitywater.co.uk/saveourstreams.

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Our Communications team handles all media enquiries on behalf of Affinity Water and its employees.

Contact us on 01707 277 110 or email news@affinitywater.co.uk.

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