Anglian Water under fire from more Leighton-Linslade families ‘refused’ compensation

Anglian Water has come under fire from additional Leighton-Linslade residents, who claim that despite initially offering them compensation, the company is refusing to cough up the cash.

Last week, the LBO featured a story about residents from The Wharf who originally received a letter from Anglian Water to explain that they would be gifted a payment to apologise for a faulty valve. The problem caused homes to be without water on the weekend of December 14 and residents were offered £30 for every 12 hours after the first 12 without water.

Residents collecting water at Tesco during the weekend of the water crisis. Credit: Branko Bjelobaba

Residents collecting water at Tesco during the weekend of the water crisis. Credit: Branko Bjelobaba

However, The Wharf residents then received emails from Anglian Water which stated that because monitors in its system had not recorded a low enough pressure reading, they wouldn’t be receiving a penny.

Yet far from this email being just sent to The Wharf, it appears many other residents have received a message to say that their pressure hadn’t dropped low enough.

Darren Dimenna, of Vimy Road, was told that the pressure had “not dropped below 5mh for more than 24 hours”.

But Darren claims he had no water at all. He told the LBO: “We have young children and we couldn’t bath them.

“It’s the principle. Anglian Water said they would do it [pay compensation] for everybody and now they have said they are not. I was previously told over the phone that they would refund me. I also went to Tesco to collect water for three days running - they have my name and address!”

The LBO contacted Anglian Water about the problem on Friday and as the LBO went to press, Darren told the newspaper that he has now received his refund and that the company admitted it had “made a mistake”.

Andrea Rodwell, who lives on Vimy Road too, also says she had no water on the weekend of December 14.

She claims: “I had to go over to a friend’s in Luton to shower. It’s just silly. There was a letter they sent out to residents before Christmas stating that if we were without water we would get compensation. I phoned up to query what was going on and then I got a call back to say that they would not be giving refunds.

“They said that Vimy Road had low pressure - but it definitely didn’t.”

However on Friday - in what seems like another change of heart by Anglian Water - Andrea was also told that she would be receiving compensation after all.

Relieved, she added: “I just think it’s been badly organised. How can one person in the same street be told something different from another - surely they are all supplied by the same pipes? One of my neighbours still hasn’t heard anything and Anglian Water have told her they are looking into it.”

Tim Mather, of Camberton Road, said: “We, like everyone else in Leighton Buzzard, were without water from Friday, December 13, and ours only came back late afternoon on December 15.

“We received the letter from Anglian Water apologising and saying that they would look into compensation.

“After finding out that some of our friends in the area have received compensation - even though they were only without water for less than 24 hours but we had not - I called Anglian Water last week and received a call back today [January 13] saying that we were not entitled to compensation, as they say we had water but no pressure. I can 100 per cent confirm not even a single drop was coming through the tap.”

Tim was waiting on a report from Anglian Water, but has since received £60 compensation. However, Tim believes he should receive £90 in total, and is sure they were off supply for nearly two days. He disagrees with Anglian’s calculation of 33.5 hours.

After the LBO’s initial story was posted on Facebook, the newspaper received comments from other readers to say that they had been refused reimbursements. Some residents were also from Camberton Road and Vimy Road, and others alleged that they hadn’t even received a letter or a bill.

Meanwhile, there were comments which praised Anglian Water for sending compensation.

Last week, Anglian Water told the LBO that residents at The Wharf “were incorrectly informed that they would not be receiving compensation”.

In regards to the new wave of complaints from other streets, an Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We remain incredibly sorry for the inconvenience of this event.

“Our aim has always been to compensate customers fairly. Compensation has been paid to households following a detailed assessment that combines lots of different information.

“Pressure monitors are just one source of information. We have also used data from flow monitors, maps that show ground height across the town, data from our storage points, reservoirs, and treatment works across Leighton Buzzard and the surrounding towns and villages, combined with what our engineers recorded on the ground over that weekend.

“This was an incredibly complex incident which has meant a number of elements have needed to be incorporated into our systems to ensure we are providing the correct information and fair compensation.

“All properties on both Vimy Road and Camberton Road were compensated earlier this week, many will already have received this directly into their bank accounts or it will appear over the next few days. Some may receive a cheque in the post if we do not have up-to-date bank account details.

“Our CEO Peter Simpson spent the weekend in Leighton Buzzard during the incident, and he’ll be at the forthcoming public meeting, along with several other senior managers. We will be discussing all elements of the incident and answering customers’ questions.”

> The public meeting will take place on January 28 at 7pm in Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre.