Extreme weather cost South East Water £17m last year
South East Water said the immediate response to the weather, such as sourcing new water, cost it some £6.6m.
It incurred costs of another £4.9m repairing leaks and bursts in its pipe network, and on top of that it paid customers £5.5m in compensation.
The utility company said on Monday: “Whilst we acknowledge that the climate is changing, we have seen an exceptional combination of extreme weather events this year that has significantly impacted on our business operations and financial performance.
“While we have done everything we can to meet the exacting performance targets and rigorous environmental commitments that go even beyond our statutory obligations, extreme weather events have had a significant impact on our performance in the past year.”
The business said it has dealt with the driest conditions in Kent since records began in 1836, and the lowest rainfall in Sussex since 1911. On top of that, water demand was at an all-time high during the hotter weeks.
The costs helped push it to a pre-tax loss of £74.2m in the year to the end of March, down from a profit of £17m a year earlier. Revenue was up 2.5 per cent to £257.5m
South East Water is facing difficulties again this year.
After the hottest June on record it has been forced to impose a hosepipe ban on its customers in Kent and Sussex.
It comes amid a period of pressure on water companies, which have been in the spotlight over their handling of sewage.
Last week Thames Water managed to secure another £750m of funding, which helped it avoid a potential collapse.
The company’s debt has ballooned to around £14bn over recent years, which has become especially problematic as interest rates soared.
Thames Water customers will not face bigger bills to cover higher interest payments on the troubled supplier’s debt pile, the company’s bosses told MPs last week.
Executives from the UK’s largest water supplier and the water regulator faced scrutiny from MPs at the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.