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Thames Water was invited to Councillor Seymour’s Places Scrutiny Committee last week, the third
time I have seen them there and I think it is fair to say that they do not enjoy
the best reputation with either Councillors or the responsible Officers and as a customer
of theirs since 1984 I would like to say I fully endorse their opinions.
The water company’s presentation to Council took the form of a slide show but unlike the Assistant Chief Executive’s show on the previous evening it was not particularly well done. For rather too much of the time the TW speaker merely read out the words on the screen as if he was a teacher at a kindergarten. I was slightly amused by the predictability of it but it wasn’t really very sensible.
The main issue with Bexley Council is that Thames Water too often breaks the terms of its licences to dig up roads although the number of occurrences (“for every ten jobs two weren’t done right”) has halved in recent months, something that Bexley’s Deputy Director was able to confirm.
The Thames Water representative said that the meter installation programme was going well but Councillor Louie French (Conservative, Welling & Falconwood) begged to differ. His residents had reported an unacceptably low level of good installations. He had raised the issue of “the standard of work both during and after installation numerous times”.
The suggestion that contractors sweep up after a job is done “is complete fiction”. Where smart meters are installed “you will see mess everywhere”.
I suspect Councillor French is right. There was a problem fitting a meter at a house a few doors along from mine and Thames Water had to play around with a valve which is in my front garden. They left behind the two lumps of cast iron pictured here. The older and well rusted one is almost too heavy to lift. the TW contractor returned the following day but he said he had no instructions to remove old ironmongery.
Both pieces have blighted my garden since 23rd November last year. Currently one is proving useful as a fox deterrent. The fox is apparently intrigued by the smell of some compost under a rhubarb root and tries to dig it up, but on balance I would prefer that Thames Water’s old rubbish wasn’t there.
Louie French was told his comments would be taken “very seriously”, I suspect mine won’t be.