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UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16193
Experience:  Called to the Bar in 2007
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I have submitted a claims form to Thames Water Board to reimburse

Customer Question

I have submitted a claims form to Thames Water Board to reimburse my costs for new pipework and repairs i have made to my property for a new water connection. I had an existing connection from the rear garden which was supplying low water pressure to the property and was not suitable for my domestic needs. After two years of complaining, Thames Water had investigated and made the new connection to our property free of charge with assurances that they will compensate me for all the costs accrued. As a result of their negligence, the low water pressure had caused damage to my boiler and is no longer working. With the boiler now damaged, this has affected my electricity costs which have now vastly increased as we have had to resort to electric heaters as being an old victorian property needs constant heating which leaves me to think that Thames Water have also in breach of a duty of care. Additionally, the sum i am asking for does not include my mitigating losses such as general damages - stress, inconvenience, time off work. I have submitted a claim form for the sum of £5,200.

Further to this, I'm not sure of the position for Thames Water regarding their legal liability for the costs I have incurred in replacing the supply pipes and boiler etc.

I have considered the situation against the background of Section 52 of the Water Industry Act 1991 which relates to the domestic supply duty and states;

(1) The domestic supply duty of a water undertaker in relation to any premises is a duty, until there is an interruption of that duty—
(a) to provide to those premises such a supply of water as (so far as those premises are concerned) is sufficient for domestic purposes; and
(b) to maintain the connection between the undertaker’s water main and the service pipe by which that supply is provided to those premises.

It appears Thames Water have breached the statutory duty prescribed in Section 52 (1) (a) on the basis the premises were not provided with a supply of water sufficient for domestic purposes. I believe this is evidenced in the damage experienced to the boiler which one would assume would not have occurred had there been enough water being supplied to it.

The only exceptions to this duty are;
if the premises are not in the area of the undertaker, if they are not household premises or if the quantity of water supplied annually is not less than 50 megalitres.
during any period which it is reasonable for the supply of water to be cut off or reduced for the pipe to be disconnected or for the purposes of the carrying out of any necessary works.
should the Customer either fail to pay charges or contravene regulations in relation to water fittings used.

We are not aware of any reason above that Thames Water should have terminated or reduced the water supply or its delivery pressure.
Section 54 of The Act relates to the enforcement of the domestic supply duty by Thames Water and states any breach of that duty which causes that person to sustain loss or damage shall be actionable at the suit of that person; but, in any proceedings brought against a water undertaker in pursuance of this subsection, it shall be a defence for the undertaker to show that it took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid the breach.

I understand the issues with the water pressure to have been ongoing for some time, since around August 2010. If that is the case, it does not appear that Thames Water could reasonably say they exercised due diligence to avoid the breach. Although they had undertaken pressure testing of the water for the area and have stated it was above the minimum requirement of 1 bar, the upgrade of the communication pipe which meets the property’s supply pipe has now cured the problem. The communication pipe is Thames Water’s apparatus and so in my mind, this would imply that it was their apparatus that was causing the issue, not the property’s private pipework.

Also, as a side note, it appears that Thames Water will not benefit from any assistance from their insurers in this case. Their Public Liability policy will indemnify them for ‘accidental property damage’. In this case, the boiler is really the only accidental damage, the pipework upgrades and reinstatement of the garden etc being a deliberate act to attempt to remedy the problem. Thames Water have an excess of £3,499 and the boiler will fall within this amount, so the insurers have confirmed they are closing their files. This means all the costs pursued by me will fall for Thames Water to bear direct.

Is there any other legislation I can use to support my claim, as I am also considering going through the small claims procedure as an alternative.

I would appreciate if you can provide me with any further advice or point me in the right direction.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your question, my name is Nic I will do whatever I can to help you today.

Were they aware of the issue?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Nic,


Yes, they have been fully aware of the issue which had been ongoing for 2 years. During that time they had sent 4 technicians at different dates to investigate the low water pressure supply and then would never get back to me nor keep me updated. I have had to chase them up repeatedly, and it was only with the help of 'Consumer council for water' and Sophie Adamou from the thames water customer relations department that persuaded them to connect our water connection in the end.


The technicians who had comed down to inspect the water pipes had instructed myself to upgrade the supply pipe within my boundary and then contact them to arrange the connection. This has now been resolved but the issue of compensation me for my costs has now arisen.


The main problem with Thames Water is that they have a call centre facility in place, so everytime I contact them, I am always tend to talk to a different person in the department. This does not help nor speed up the situation as they refuse to let me speak to the same person directly.


All notes from our conversations are recorded on their system for which I have asked for all the telephone correspondence and they have now posted them onto me. However, the correpondence they have sent on appears to be really vague and does not address all the issues I have complained to them about in our conversations.






Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
Did you give them an opportunity to fix?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have given them every opportunity during the two years to fix my water connection for which they have now fixed. However the main issue here is that I dont think they will be looking to give cover the whole amount that i am asking for. They have indicated that they may be willing to compensate me for the boiler but they dont intend to compensate me for the costs of laying out the new pipes. However, the issue here is that I would not have needed a new water connection, nor would i have had to purchase new water pipes if the supply from the rear garden wasn't a low water pressure supply of water to the property. I have done everything under their guidance and advice. If i had known that i would not have been compensated for these costs then i probably wouldnt have bothered with the new connection to start with.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
And what is your loss or costs to date?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My costs up to date are £5200 as mentioned in the first message.

Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.

You should write to Thames set out your losses and ask for payment within 28 days or say you will go to court.

If they refuse then you can issue proceedings.

You can do this online at - you will have to pay a fee but this will be added to the claim.

If you keep the claim to £5000 or below it will be a small claim and you won't need a solicitor.

I would do this as if you lose you have only lost the court fees. Otherwise you would have to pay their legal fees if if it was a normal claim which will be way above £5000

You will be surprised how quick matters are resolved once proceedings are issued.

If there you have any questions or if I can help you with anything else please let me know.

Please remember to click *** OK SERVICE *** or above so that I am credited for my time. The question does not close and you can ask follow ups.

Important: If you feel the need to rate as one of the lower two scores, it counts as negative feedback so please reply to me via the REPLY with any further questions you may have. I will be happy to assist you further.
Expert:  UK-Justice replied 3 years ago.
I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?


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