A letter to our customers – January 2021

Dear Customer, this week, England entered a third national lockdown and our country now faces the highest level of risk since the pandemic began.

In response to these events, I’d like to assure you that we have been working in COVID-secure ways since the first lockdown and our priorities remain the same.

We are committed to maintaining our essential services to you and supporting you while we protect our customers, communities and colleagues. 

Assisting our most vulnerable customers

Whether your circumstances have changed or you’re concerned about the wellbeing of loved ones, I’d like to remind you of the ways we can help.

If you’re worried about your bills, we can offer you a range of financial support. We’ve made this easier to access, including extending the eligibility criteria for discounted bills by £5,000 until the end of March 2021. Today, we help over 118,000 customers with their bills.

If you’re concerned how you’ll pay, all you have to do is contact us in your preferred way below:

  • Contact us – and select ‘Apply for help paying your bill’ when you complete the online form. We’ll respond within five working days to discuss your situation and agree what support we can offer you.
  • Talk to us on web chat – click the ‘Live Chat’ tab on our home page.
  • Call our helpline – free phone 0330 303 0277 (9am to 7pm, Monday to Friday).

If you’re shielding or have a health condition or other challenge, our Priority Services Register is here to help. This confidential list tells us how we can best support you and who to prioritise in an emergency – for example, you could receive bottled water to your home if your supply was disrupted.

Since last March, the number of customers we’ve registered has increased by almost 65%. If you or someone you know would benefit from extra help, especially in winter, apply for our Priority Services Register.

Maintaining essential services and public health

We’re committed – and proud – to provide a crucial service to the community, 24 hours a day. This will not change. Your essential water and wastewater services will continue unaffected. However, we’re temporarily suspending some non-essential activities – like water-saving home visits – to avoid unnecessary risks to our people, wider society and the health service.

As before, you should still use your water as normal (as outlined by the statement issued by our regulator, The Drinking Water Inspectorate). However, if you’ve been specifically advised by Southern Water to restrict your water use for quality or public health reasons, please continue to follow this guidance until we say otherwise.

Want to help us?
  • Please protect our key workers – Many of our teams have been given key worker status and face a higher degree of risk for themselves and their families while they work to keep your taps and toilets flowing. If you see them out and about, please keep your distance. If you have any questions about their work, you can call us instead on 0330 303 0368.
  • Use only what you need – With more people at home since last March, we’ve seen an increase in water use. While you’re at home, you can help us (and potentially save money) by following our simple water saving tips – like shortening your showers and only filling the kettle with what you need. With cold weather forecast, you could also prepare your home for winter to prevent unexpected leaks or bursts.

Maintaining the health, safety and wellbeing of our communities

Our COVID-secure ways of working have allowed us to reduce the risk of infection and continue to provide our essential services since the first lockdown. Despite this, we’ve challenging ourselves to review and – where possible – strengthen our COVID-secure practices to reflect the current level of risk.

Our ways of working

Many of our people are able to work flexibly. Only colleagues unable to perform their duties from home or who need to work from our premises for health reasons or due to personal circumstances remain on-site.

Our key workers on-site and in the community follow rigorous health and safety procedures and government guidelines. We encourage them to wear masks and have supplied additional hand-cleaning facilities and PPE alongside their usual kit.

While the situation is now more serious than it was last March, we remain committed to looking after those who need us most and keeping your essential services running.

You can find out more about our response to COVID-19, including stories from our key workers and tips for businesses affected by closures.

I wish you the best during what we hope will be the final phase of these extraordinary national measures.

Ian McAulay
Chief Executive Officer 

Published: 6 January 2021

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