Financial results show benefits for Cambridge Water customers


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View recent newsFinancial results show benefits for Cambridge Water customers

Cambridge Water customers are continuing to enjoy high levels of service, while benefitting from the second lowest household water bills in England and Wales, according to a report published today (July 15).

The company’s Regulatory Report and Accounts for the financial year ending 31 March 2009 confirm Cambridge Water is maintaining a strong position in the marketplace and continuing to provide excellent levels of service, despite the economic downturn.

Stephen Kay, managing director of Cambridge Water, said: “Like all companies, in this challenging economic climate we have had to weather the storm.”

“Our operating profit has fallen 11 per cent to £4.6 million, largely as a result of an increase in operating costs.”

“During the last financial year we have witnessed a 19 per cent increase in electricity costs to £868,000 and a 25 per cent increase in the cost of the chemicals we use to treat the water to £231,000. The price Cambridge Water pays the Environment Agency for licences to abstract water also rose by 10 per cent.”

He said the cold weather during a 10 day period in January 2009, when the average night time temperature was minus five degrees, had also led to a dramatic increase in the number of leaks and burst mains.

“At one stage we were working round the clock to cope with 38 burst mains in just one week, putting our total repair costs up 20 per cent to £2m.”

Despite these challenges Cambridge Water has continued to put its customers at the forefront of its business. Bills rose just 2.7 per cent, which was lower than the national average price rise authorised by the industry regulator Ofwat. Levels of customer service, as measured by Ofwat, were also exceptionally high with the company scoring 286.6 points out of a maximum 287.

The company’s ability to deliver high standards across its network has also been maintained.

A report, issued last week by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, confirmed Cambridge Water customers continue to benefit from some of the highest quality drinking water in the country and, even with the pressures of the cold weather, it has been able to meet its leakage target. This is partly as a result of a £2million investment in District Metering Areas (DMAs), located in Cambridge City and the surrounding villages, to assist with the rapid detection of leaks.

Mr Kay explained: “Our ethos of continually investing in our network for the long-term benefit of our customers has meant our company is built on strong foundations.”

“At Cambridge Water for every £100 we receive from customers’ bills, we spend £60 on operating costs and £23 in renewing and enhancing the network. After paying £11 in tax and interest, £6 remains for investors.

"During our 156-year history the company has witnessed both financial and environmental changes to the climate in which it operates. This year, our operating profit may be lower than for 2007/08, but I believe we remain able to balance the needs of our customers, investors and the environment.”

Customers can access the full report at


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