Annual results 2021
Introduction and overview
This year has been dominated by two events: one affecting the Wessex Water community and the other communities throughout the world.
The whole Wessex Water family was devastated by the tragic events at Avonmouth on 3 December 2020. Our colleagues Brian, Ray, Luke and Mike lost their lives too soon. We will not stop in pursuit of learning important lessons from this darkest of days and sharing these lessons with the wider industry.
The second event was the global pandemic. For most of the year the Covid-19 pandemic affected everything we did. We had to work in different ways to help keep everyone safe, including a sudden shift to home working and working with new PPE.
Wessex Water continued to provide high standards of services to customers and communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and was still able to carry out environmental improvement work, maintain operational performance and deliver a major multimillion-pound investment programme.
Among the achievements was dealing with yet more extreme weather – including an exceptionally dry April and one of our wettest Octobers on record. Interruptions to customers’ water supply reduced and sewer flooding incidents were better than target.
As we look forward, we see a great opportunity to enhance what we do and how we do it. Our aim is to encourage thinking in terms of the things that really matter to customers, communities and the environment – safe, reliable water, an effective sewerage system, an improved environment, great customer service and affordable bills. If we can do that on a catchment scale, with catchment partners, through a catchment market, we could deliver more for less.
This is a pivotal moment for Wessex Water and the whole industry: by embracing catchment approaches, nature based solutions and a focus on our target of carbon neutrality by 2030, we can make a real difference.
Serving people and places
We are pleased to remain one of the top performers in the water sector for customer service, placed first of all the water and sewerage companies in C-MeX, Ofwat’s measure of customer experience. CCW, the independent voice for water consumers, confirmed that we continue to have the lowest number of complaints of all the water and sewerage companies.
Improving the environment
Our aim is to deliver a better environment for nature and people. In 2020, we were rated as ‘leading’ in the Environment Agency’s annual environmental performance assessment but we recognise we have more to do. For example, we know we must continue to return more water to the environment over the medium to long term, through reducing abstraction and reducing demand.
Empowering our people
Throughout the year, the Wessex Water team showed resilience and fortitude in ensuring our services were unaffected by the pandemic. We have had to work in different ways to help keep everyone safe, including a sudden shift to home working and working with new PPE. Our services to customers and communities, our environmental improvement work, as well as our compliance with standards, operational performance and delivery of our investment programme, were all largely unaffected.
Financing the future
We aim to be a trusted, financially strong company. The Wessex Water Marketplace allows us to champion innovative ideas both internally and externally and achieve value for money. Our online Marketplace platform enables us to share our data and pose challenges to the market. To date we have run 13 challenges through the Marketplace, covering activities across the business including leakage and sewer misuse.