Water Supplies to Clydach Vale, Pontypridd, Treorchy, Tonypandy and Pentre

First of all can I apologise for the loss of water supply as a result of the major incident we have had on one of our large diameter water mains at Cilfynydd, near Pontypridd. The main in question is a 31"/ 850 mm trunk main which carries very large volumes of water and is effectively a 'transmission' main to support supplies to a wide geographical area. This is why as a result of the incident communities in the Rhonndda and Church Village for example were also affected.These type of mains fulfil a vital role in keeping our smaller mains which serve customers directly full and delivering water at the right pressure. Repairing these type of mains is a major task and because of the operating pressure carries significant safety risks and we have to take this into account as a key priority to protect our people and contractors carrying out the repair.

I am also sorry that deliveries of bottled water to distribution points was not as effective as we would have liked and there are lessons to be learned from this about how we carry out this type of support to customers in future. We did however, successfully deliver bottled water to over 600 vulnerable customers, such as those with medical conditions and the elderly which I hope you will agree were the highest priority in the circumstances.

By early this morning supplies are returning to normal for the majority of our customers , but we are experiencing some 'air locks' in the system , particularly in the Clydach Vale area and we are focusing on on this as a matter of urgency.

If you are currently experiencing any further problems do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you

Peter Perry

Chief Operating Officer

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Glas Cymru is a single purpose company formed to own, finance and manage Welsh Water. It is a ‘company limited by guarantee’ and because it has no shareholders, any financial surpluses are retained for the benefit of Welsh Water’s customers.

Under Glas Cymru’s ownership, Welsh Water’s assets and capital investment are financed by bonds and retained financial surpluses. The Glas Cymru business model aims to reduce Welsh Water’s asset financing cost, the water industry’s single biggest cost.

Financing efficiency savings to date have largely been used to build up reserves to insulate Welsh Water and its customers from any unexpected costs and also to improve credit quality so that Welsh Water’s cost finance can be kept as low as possible in the years ahead.

Background

Glas Cymru Cyf. was created by Nigel Annett and Chris Jones in 2000, with the support of its first Chairman Lord Burns, for the sole purpose of acquiring and then managing Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, the water and sewerage service provider in most of Wales and some adjoining parts of England. After a process that took around 18 months, Glas Cymru successfully acquired Welsh Water from Western Power Distribution (a US owned electricity network company) in May 2001, financed by a £1.9 billion bond issue (thought to be the largest ever, non-government backed, Sterling corporate bond issue).

Glas Cymru is unique in the UK utility industry in that it is:

  • a private company with no shareholders,
  • financed in the capital markets, with no government support,
  • not allowed to diversify into other activities or geographies, and
  • all financial surpluses are used for the benefit of its customers.

Welsh Water provides an essential public service to the households, businesses and the environment in Wales. It is a highly capital intensive business, with assets that will serve many future generations. It has a huge capital investment programme, some £3 billion since 2001 with similar amounts to come. Its strategy is to deliver a secure, long-term credit quality to investors (such as pension funds and insurance companies) so as to raise the finance it needs at the cheapest possible cost, thereby keeping down bills to customers (around a third of which go to remunerate finance for investment).

Glas Cymru is a “company limited by guarantee”; it has no shareholders and so its corporate governance functions are the responsibility of its Board, which has a majority of independent non-executive directors, and its members, around 70 individuals appointed following a process undertaken by an independent membership selection panel.  Members are not representatives of outside stakeholder groups but rather are unpaid individuals whose duty is to promote the good running of the company, in the best interests of its customers.  The business operates as a fully commercial undertaking and it is a listed company, complying with the Combined Code.

Successes of the group to date include:

  • some £3 billion invested to improve drinking water quality, environmental protection and customer service – at no cost to the taxpayer
  • financial gearing reduced from 93% to 65%, reflected in improved credit ratings (A/A3/A) which are the strongest in the UK water sector
  • £150 million returned to customers in the form of ‘customer dividends’ and some £10 million of support for disadvantaged customer groups via social tariffs and an assistance fund
  • lower average customer bills in real terms than in 2000, in part due to the best record in the sector in cost reduction and improved efficiency.

Welsh Water’s 25-year vision “Our Sustainable Future” can be accessed by clicking here.