Customer services: 03300 242020

Coronavirus update for customers

We want to keep you informed about what we are doing in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Last updated 14 May 2020

How is Albion Water preparing to deal with Covid-19?

We are following the very latest government advice to protect our customers and colleagues and to continue to supply safe drinking water and sewerage services as normal.  

The World Health Organisation says there is no risk to tap water which is disinfected with chlorine to kill harmful bacteria as part of the treatment process.  

While this is a challenging time for everyone, we have tried and tested plans which we have put into action to ensure our services are delivered safely. 

This means you might see Albion Water vans and our workforce out and about working on our water supply and sewerage networks carrying out essential routine work where it is safe to do so or dealing with emergencies. These individuals are ‘key workers’ so are permitted to be working in the highway, at our sites, or travelling to and from locations to ensure essential public services are maintained.

We are focusing on our essential services to customers and it is likely that we might have to cancel some non-urgent work. We’re sorry if this causes some disruption but it’s an important part of our plan to keep everything going as normal and keep our people safe. For essential work where we have to visit your property, such as clearing a sewer blockage or resolving a water supply issue, we request that you maintain a safe social distance from our workforce in line with the government's advice to protect both you and our colleagues.

Water quality information for businesses and organisations

Due to lockdown restrictions in place over the last couple of months, a significant number of business and organisation premises have been forced to close, potentially causing water within the building’s plumbing system to become stagnant. This can cause water quality to deteriorate and there are potential risks to health using stagnant water. Water UK has published advice on the steps that should be taken when returning to buildings after prolonged inactivity.

Billing

I am unable to work due to my workplace being closed – can I get help with my bill?

We recognise that some customers are facing extreme financial difficulty and we don’t want anyone to worry about paying their water bill. If your circumstances have changed and you’re struggling, or you think you might struggle in future, please get in touch with us by completing our online enquiry form. One of our team will give you a call to talk about how we can help.

The Money Advice Service provides wider support on managing money during coronavirus and what you are entitled to.

I'm on a meter and worried my bill will increase because I’m using more water washing my hands. Can you help?

Washing your hands more only uses a very small amount of water and this won’t have a significant impact on your water bill. To help save water, you can always turn your tap off while you’re lathering up the soap. We don’t want anyone to worry about paying their water bill. Get in touch with us directly and we’ll have a look at your account and see how we can help.  

I am a small business and can’t afford to pay my bill – what can I do?

If you’re a business customer, or any other type of non-household customer, please visit our dedicated page.

Planned work and visiting your home

I have an appointment coming up for work at my home, is it still going ahead?

Before we turn up to your home, we’ll be calling you to make sure that nobody in your household is ill with coronavirus or self-isolating. If everyone is fine, we’ll continue to do the work as planned. If you or someone in your home is self-isolating, then we will need to assess how urgent the work is. We might be able to reschedule, or we might be able to take additional steps to help protect our colleagues.

If we visit your property, we request that you maintain a safe social distance from our workforce in line with the government's advice to protect both you and our colleagues.

If an Albion Water employee needs to enter my property am I at risk?

All our employees have been provided with safety equipment and the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England to minimise the risk and help reduce the spread of coronavirus. If you're worried about having one of our colleagues enter your home, please let us know and we'll rearrange non-urgent appointments.

If we visit your property, we request that you maintain a safe social distance from our workforce in line with the government's advice to protect both you and our colleagues.

How am I able to check if an Albion Water employee visiting my home is genuine?

It's rare that an Albion Water employee should need to enter your home without you knowing beforehand why we're visiting. All staff carry a photographic identification card that can be verified by calling us on 03300 242020. Do not let anyone into your home if you are in any doubt. If you think someone is not a real Albion Water employee, contact the police immediately.

The same applies if you receive any suspicious phone calls from someone claiming to be from Albion Water. Please call us on 03300 242020 if you want to check if a call from us is genuine.

If there are Albion Water roadworks happening on my street am I at risk?

All our colleagues have been provided with safety equipment and the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England to minimise the risk and help reduce the spread of coronavirus. We will not normally need to enter your home during roadworks, so there is no additional risk to you. If we do need to carry out work in your home, please get in touch with us if you have any concerns.

If we visit your property, we request that you maintain a safe social distance from our workforce in line with the government's advice to protect both you and our colleagues.

I’ve had a letter to say you are carrying out flushing in my area, will this affect my supply?

We regularly flush our pipes to keep the quality of our water up to the excellent standards that you would expect. We understand that customers may be concerned about work that could impact their water supply at this time and we want to reassure you that we don’t intend to disrupt your water supply as part of this work. The majority of customers don’t notice any impact when we’re flushing pipes but occasionally some customers might experience discoloured water for a short time after the work. Advice on how to clear the discoloured water can be found in the letter you received prior to the work. If you have any further questions please give us a call on 03300 242020.  

Extra support

I’m self-isolating, can I join the Priority Services register? 

If you're self-isolating for 7 or 14 days, there is no need for you to sign up to Priority Services, unless you have a physical impairment or chronic illness and haven't already signed up to our register. Customers who are in the "high risk" group, and told not to leave their home at all, may wish to sign up to Priority Services so we can provide extra support.

I have underlying health conditions which mean I’m more at risk, what can you do to help?

It’s very rare that we interrupt your water supply and if we do, it usually only happens for a short period of time. If you do experience an interruption to your water supply while you’re self-isolating and you are worried, please get in touch and we will do our best to help. If you are otherwise healthy and don’t normally need extra support, there is no need to join the Priority Services register.

Using the toilet

Can I flush kitchen roll, wet wipes or facial tissues down the toilet?

No - this could cause a blockage and result in sewage backing up into your home or a neighbour's. You can help us during this time by putting wet wipes, kitchen roll, cleaning cloths and facial tissues in the bin. Follow our advice in the leaks and blockages section of our FAQs. 

Water supply and water quality

Is my drinking water safe?

When we treat drinking water before we supply it to your taps, we add a small amount of chlorine to disinfect the water. The World Health Organisation advises that this way of treating water kills the coronavirus. Scientists have confirmed that drinking water supplies are not a route of transmission and are unaffected. Our drinking water remains wholesome and safe. Person to person spread is the principal way the virus spreads.

My water is discoloured following a burst / flushing. How can I clear it?

Discoloured water is usually only temporary and can often be cleared by allowing the first incoming cold water tap (so the one nearest to your stop tap) to run for five minutes to help clear the water.  If this doesn’t clear the problem or if you need any further help please give us a call on 03300 242020. 

What if there is a water supply interruption in my area? I’m worried about not being able to wash my hands for a long time?  

It’s rare for anyone’s water supply to be interrupted but it can occasionally happen. We treat this as emergency work and our team will carry out necessary repair work and/or liaise with the company that provides the water supply to our site to ensure the issue is fixed as quickly as possible. We understand that the current coronavirus situation means that people need to be able to wash their hands frequently and that any interruption to supply will be worrying. We always work hard to get water supplies back on as soon as possible and will provide updates on our website and social media channels. If you have a medical condition which means you would struggle to manage without a clean water supply for a short period of time, please contact us to let us know and we will add you to our Priority Services register. We can then provide you with additional help during an interruption to your water supply, such as access to bottled water.

Will my bill go up because I'm washing my hands more?

Water consumption is currently running at about 2% more than normal, so we have not seen a significant increase in consumption as a result of additional handwashing. Handwashing does not use large amounts of water compared to running a bath or using a dishwasher, but as an example, if you are on a water meter and you use an additional 10 litres a day for handwashing, the cost for water and sewerage services would be around two pence. To save water while handwashing, turn the tap off as you are lathering soap into your hands and only turn it back on to rinse.

For more ways to save water visit our saving water page.

I run a business and we’re returning to the office, is it safe to use the drinking water?

If your building has been unoccupied for a while, water within the building’s plumbing system may have become stagnant. This can cause water quality to deteriorate and there are potential risks to health using stagnant water. You should follow Water UK advice on the steps that should be taken to help protect health.

Getting in touch

I can’t get through to speak to anyone – what do I do?

We may be experiencing a higher number of calls during this time so we are sorry if it is taking longer for you to get in touch. You can also contact us online – it's quick and easy to do.

Other

How are you supporting businesses and your supply chain?

Business customers can find information on the support we are offering here.

To help our suppliers manage cashflow Albion Water Ltd is changing its standard payment terms for the next 3 months to 30 days from receipt of invoice.

Thank you for your understanding and help during this time. For the latest information on coronavirus visit nhs.uk/coronavirus