Water firm urged to tell residents of supply cut-off

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A WATER company has been criticised for not notifying people of a cut in supplies during the night.

Portsmouth Water switches off supplies between midnight and 4am to check for leaks on a daily basis.

But as part of its policy, the company, which provides water for Portsmouth and the south Hampshire area, does not inform residents when it will take place.

One Eastney resident, who wished not to be named, said: ‘We have found several times that we do not get water in the middle of the night.

‘The other night we rang Portsmouth Water and were told that supplies had been switched off from midnight to 4am because they wanted to search for leaks.

‘I said they should warn people and they said they could not.

‘Hundreds of customers were involved and it would be impossible to leaflet them all.

‘But there are many reasons why people need water in the middle of the night. What if a washing machine or similar appliance had been timed to come on during the night?’

Councillor Luke Stubbs, for the Eastney and Craneswater ward, says the water firm should inform people of any disruption. He said: ‘The company should put up a notification for it.

‘If it’s an emergency you can understand, but if it’s routine checks then it should be courtesy to let residents know.

‘Not every property has a water tank, which means they are connected to the main supply and will lose water straight away.’

Andy Neve, engineering director at Portsmouth Water, has defended the company’s decision to not notify residents.

He said: ‘This is something we do as a matter of routine.

‘There is an expectation to minimise our leakage and what we have to do is shut down parts of the network to find any particular problems.

‘We don’t give notice for these closures and carry out the checks between midnight and 4am, but that doesn’t mean we shut it for that whole time.

‘Sometimes it can be for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s difficult to identify when we will close water in a particular area and night.

‘Customers should contact us and we can tell them if loss of water is because of a routine check, or see if there is another problem.

‘On rare occasions it does cause inconvenience to customers, and we apologise.’