September 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Water company Affinity Water has apologised to residents in Saffron Walden after charging its customers for a service they did not receive.
Households affected received a letter last week notifying customers that their account was being credited with £20 “as a gesture of goodwill”.
Residents in Walden pay extra to have their water softened but a problem with Affinity Water’s local facility at Debden Road meant the process was not carried out for around 11 weeks.
The company came under fire at a Saffron Walden Town Council meeting last month – and calls were made for residents to receive a rebate.
In a letter to residents, Affinity Water said: “We apologise that we did not advise you of the unexpected and extended closure of our water treatment works. The average amount customers paid for water softening during the closure period was approximately £5.
“As a gesture of goodwill, recognising that our communication with you fell short of our high standards, we have credited £20 to all affected customers.”
It added: “Our own internal review has led to changes to ensure that our communication does not let you down again.”
Mayor of Saffron Walden, Councillor Sandra Eden, welcomed Affinity Water’s apology but was more sceptical of the £20 credit.
She said: “Companies in this situation should be much more transparent. Everyone makes mistakes and people understand that, but they want to be told about it when it happens, not have the company try and sweep it under the carpet and hope it goes away.
“I’m just happy they have come out and apologised. As for the credit, that’s just a token gesture, really.”
A burst pipe below the foundations of Affinity Water’s Debden Road facility was to blame for the interruption in service. Complex repairs meant the water treatment works was closed from the end of October last year to the middle of January.
Instead, Affinity Water maintained the town’s water supply from an alternative source. The water was not softened during that period but residents were still charged.