MORE than a million households are set to receive a £10 water rebate in the coming months.
A water company is giving the rebate to customers after admitting it failed to accurately report leaks across its network.
Welsh Water covers most of Wales, Hertfordshire and parts of Deeside.
The water company will credit £10 into the accounts of 1.3million household and 100,000 business customer accounts over the coming months, costing them around £14million in total.
The payment will be automatically credited to each registered household and business account so customers do not need to do anything to get the rebate.
Following the admission, regulator Ofwat has launched an investigation into Welsh Water's leakage reporting for 2020 and 2021 and is looking into what further action needs to be taken over failures.
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Pete Perry, chief executive of Welsh Water said: "We are very sorry and disappointed that this has happened.
"We’re investing an additional £54million over the next two years to identify and reduce leakage as quickly as possible and we have shared the findings of our investigations with our regulator."
He added that while the company's "robust assurance process" ultimately identified the issue, there were "failures in governance and management oversight processes".
This comes shortly after Ofwat announced it had launched a probe into South West Water over the accuracy of data it provides on leakages.
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Water giants are coming under heavy criticism across England and Wales for failing to tackle spills in rivers and beaches.
Suppliers are under pressure to modernise the Victorian-era sewage networks, but also get on top of the accuracy of their leakage reporting.
David Black, chief executive of Ofwat, said: "We are committed to holding companies to account for performance and for sharing timely, accurate, and complete data with us and their customers.
"We recognise that Welsh Water came to us when it became aware of the issue with the accuracy of its performance data.
"Ofwat’s investigation will consider Welsh Water’s restated performance figures, the circumstances that led to the company reporting inaccurate performance, and what steps it has taken or is taking to address these failings."
Rules around reporting water leaks
Every water company has a leakage target that they are set each year.
If a company doesn't meet its leakage target it has to return money to customers.
Around a fifth of water running through pipes is lost to leakage and Ofwat expects water companies in England and Wales to significantly improve on this.
Some leaks are inevitable as pipes expand and contract, so it is impossible to achieve a zero figure.
But improvements have been made, more than 40% of pipes have been replaced since privatisation, and leakage is currently at its lowest level ever.
How to get help with bills
If you are worried about your water bill regulator Ofwat recommends four steps you can take that will help to reduce the stress.
Talk to your water company
If you are struggling with your bills, the first step is to speak to your water company.
There are schemes on offer that could help by reducing bills, smoothing payments or helping with debt.
You can contact your water company over the telephone or by sending an email.
Contact details for your water company can be found on Ofwat's website.
Install a water meter
Having a water meter means you pay for what you use, rather than a set amount.
This could help you save if you are a smaller household or low-water user.
Talk to your water company to get advice on what is the right course of action for you.
Find out what support is available
Make sure you are getting the support you are entitled to.
If your situation has changed recently it might be worth checking what benefits you are entitled to.
Benefits calculators are available online with companies such as Turn2us.
Reach out to other support services
There are support services you can reach out to that will be able to give you detailed advice and support.
The CCW has a list of organisations on its website that help people struggling to pay their water bill.
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There is also help available on the Citizen's Advice website.
Scope offer Disability Energy Support, including water bill support.
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