Investment prioritised over external dividends to build better future for customers and the environment

Last reviewed:

Annual report 2018/19

                                Thames Water Utilities Limited announces its results for the full-year ended 31 March 2019.

Ian Marchant, Interim Executive Chairman of Thames Water Utilities Limited, said:

“We have a lot to be proud of. Our drinking water quality remains high, we protected customers from supply restrictions during the hottest summer on record and we reduced internal sewer flooding. Our average annual combined household bills remain amongst the lowest in England and Wales. However, overall performance was mixed. We reduced leakage but not by as much as we wanted to, given the extreme weather events. This also helped push up complaints. These remain two of our top priorities.

“We this year significantly renewed the social contract with our customers and stakeholders. We revamped our Board and governance to build trust and boost transparency, we engaged thousands of schoolchildren through our education programmes and many more customers now benefit from our social tariffs or have joined the priority services register. We are also working with our regional partners to help tackle common challenges, such as water resources, that impact customers and the environment.”

Brandon Rennet, Chief Financial Officer, Thames Water, said:

“Every line of our results demonstrate that we are a business working as hard as possible to meet its commitment to our customers, the environment and our stakeholders. Our capital expenditure last year increased to £1.2 billion. We spent a record amount to reduce leakage and no dividend will be paid to external shareholders, again, as we prioritise improving our network and customer outcomes by innovating and utilising the latest technology.

"Over the past 15 years we have invested around £15 billion – the average annual spend is triple the average annual amount spent in the five years prior to privatisation. As a business, it is important that we are as efficient and productive as possible, so that every penny we spend is maximised for our customers benefit.”

To read the full report click here.

Customer service and social contract

  • Drove a 41% increase in number of customers benefitting from our simplified social tariffs, and a 15% increase in the number of customers on our priority services register
  • At £398 a year in 2019/20, our household customers benefit from the third lowest average combined water and wastewater bill in England and Wales, 4% below industry average
  • Extreme weather contributed to 21,108 household written complaints (Mar 18: 17,039). Ambition to halve number by 2025
  • On track to transition majority of customers to major new relationship management and billing platform by March 2020 to drive service improvements
  • Engaged 24,900 schoolchildren through our education programme
  • Major review of Boardroom governance completed to rebuild trust and boost transparency

 Financial performance

  • £454.0 million underlying operating profit (Mar 18: £505.9 million)
  • £51.6 million underlying profit before tax (Mar 18: £137.4 million, excluding profit on the sale of our non-household business)
  • Capital investment of £1.2 billion in our network and other assets (Mar '18: £1.1 billion), with around £15 billion invested over the last 15 years
  • No distributions to external shareholders (Mar 18: £nil). £60 million paid to our immediate parent company to service group interest obligations and working capital requirements (Mar ’18: £55.0 million)
  • Paid over £211 million in business rates, national insurance contributions, PAYE and other taxes

 Operational performance

  • Scored 99.96% drinking water quality compliance (Mar 18: 99.96%), remains among the best in the industry
  • Committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and generated 22% of our own electricity to power operations
  • No Category One pollution incidents for the first time in 10 years, with current pollution levels 46% lower than five years ago
  • Internal sewer flooding incidents down 3%, and 26% lower since 2015


  • We are spending £1 million a day in leakage prevention and network maintenance activities
  • Our leakage performance for 2018/19 was 690 Ml/d (mega litres per day) from 695 Ml/d in 2017/18, as extreme weather impacted our operations
  • We expect our leakage performance to continuously improve in 2019/20, with an average of 1,500 repairs completed every week
  • We remain committed to our target for 2024/2025, regardless of the outcome this year
  • We’ve reduced leakage by 27% in the last 15 years

 Investing for the future

  • We submitted our business plan for 2020-25 based on insight from over one million customers, with 87% support in acceptability testing
  • Plan will reduce pollution incidents by 30%; reduce leakage by 15% (compared to our 2020 target of 606Ml/d); reduce our average annual combined household bill by £5 in real-terms, equivalent to 1.3%, by 2024/25
  • Significant investment in a smarter, digital network to deliver for the future, including smart meters and sewer depth monitors