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SES Water publishes annual report for 2022



SES Water has published its annual review of operating and financial performance results covering the second year of its Business Plan for 2020 to 2025.

Performance highlights include:

  • The Company continues to achieve upper quartile industry performance for minimising the number of customers contacts about the taste, smell or appearance of their water
  • The first water company in the UK to roll out intelligent technology across the entire water network and have now met the leakage target every year since they were first set more than 20 years ago, which is industry leading
  • Laid 8.6 kilometres of new main pipe in the last year and progressed a number of key mains replacement schemes across the supply area. As a result the Company has met its target for the number of mains repairs across the year
  • Although some planned interruptions to supply are unavoidable performance this year has been within target to keep interruptions to a minimum. As a result of a resilient water network the Company has also kept unplanned outages below the target limit
  • 19,994 customers are benefitting from the Company’s Water Support Scheme, which provides a 50% bill reduction to eligible people. This means SES Water are already surpassing the target set for year three of this five-year Business Plan period
  • Surpassed this year’s target of 80 per cent for vulnerable support scheme helpfulness, with 84 per cent of people surveyed saying the extra services offered are helpful
  • The launch of a new billing system, being the first company in the UK to use it. This innovation is the biggest change made to this key area of the business in more than 20 years and is one of several ways SES Water is working to improve customer service
  • Retained The Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark Award for the second year at Elmer Treatment Works and also achieved the award at a second site – Fetcham Springs in Leatherhead. The only water company to currently hold the accreditation and expect one more site to follow by 2025

As well as delivering strong operational performance in many areas, this year the Company has continued to go beyond providing its essential public service and played an active part in the local communities it serves. This has included:

  • Welcoming more than 2,500 people to the state-of-the-art education centre at Bough Beech Treatment Works in the past year, continuing to inspire future generations
  • Visit 140 vulnerable customers a week, to ensure the members of the community who need it most benefit from our support. This includes contact over telephone and attending local food banks
  • Partnered with Run Reigate as the official water provider at the event, which saved 24,000 single-use plastic bottles from being given out on the day
  • A charitable fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Surrey, has seen the Company donate more than £27,000 to support many good causes in the community
  • SES Water staff donated more than £1,500 to buy Christmas hampers for vulnerable customers
  • Added to the fleet of electric vehicles, with each electric car helping to save 2-3 tonnes of CO2e per year, as well as reducing the impact on local air quality

Total revenue has decreased £2.9 million to £63.0 million (2021: £65.8 million). Operating profit is £10.2 million, down from £11.1 million last year. Capital investment in new and replacement plant and equipment totals £27.0 million, up from £26.5 million last year.

Chief Executive Officer, Ian Cain, said: “It’s undoubtedly been another challenging year for everyone, stemming from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living. However, I’m immensely proud of what we, as a Company, have achieved in the last 12 months. We have continued throughout to focus on three core areas: protecting and supporting our colleagues, meeting the needs and wishes of our customers and taking care of the communities we serve, including the environment.

“Most notably we became the first water company to roll out intelligent technology across our entire network, helping us to locate and repair leaks in near real time. This has helped us outperform our target for reducing leaks on our network of pipes, which once again is industry leading. We have also minimised the number of supply interruptions and occasions when customers’ water supplies have been interrupted.

“Meanwhile, we have continued to provide financial support to customers through our ‘Here For You’ payment support schemes to make sure we are there for them when they need us the most.

“However, there are areas where we know we can improve. We fully recognise we need to make improvements to our customer service, both for households and developers, as measured under the UK water industry performance tables for 2021/22, and we are working hard to do so. This includes improved complaints handling, listening to and acting on customer feedback and reducing bill shock.

“The Board and I are absolutely confident the Company’s financial standing remains strong and we have taken positive steps to further improve the strength of our finances, particularly in light of the pandemic, and continued to invest in areas that matter most to our customers. This includes launching a new digital billing system – the largest technology investment in our history.

“Above all, the past year has highlighted the incredible commitment and dedication our colleagues continue to show day in, day out to make a real difference to people’s lives and be the Company that all our customers trust and rely upon.”

Chair, Dave Shemmans, said: “I’m delighted and privileged to be the new Chair for such a great company, which has an important duty to not only improve the lives of our customers but also help protect the environment.

“And we must keep this balance front of mind as we embark on our next Price Review (PR24), which is a key focus for the next 18 months and will set the agenda for the first five years of our long-term strategy.

“I look forward to working with all the incredible people at SES Water to help keep us on track to achieving our business targets and providing our customers with the high-quality water they expect.”