United Utilities

Ticker UU.

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As of 23:06 21 May 2019
Market cap. Pound sterling
5,342.00 million
As of 23:07 21 May 2019

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Workington Port ships in a surplus after 'very good year'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

The county council-owned Port of Workington has had "a very good year", hitting all its targets with profits of £362,000 and several major transport projects, a meeting was told.

Pipes being unloaded from boat
Port of Workington

The port manager Jeremy Lihou told the harbour board that the highlights of the past year included handling pipes for United Utilities' new water main from Thirlmere to West Cumbria.

He said much of the surplus was because good winter weather meant dredging could be delayed until later in the year, and because this tied in with other work the dredger was doing in the Irish Sea at the time, the Workington contract could be done more cheaply.

All in all, we have had a really good and successful year.”

Jeremy LhouPort manager

Cumbria's water bills could fall, says regulator

People's water bills in Cumbria could fall over the next five years, according to the industry regulator.

Ofwat has praised the business plan put forward by the region's water supplier, United Utilities, saying that if followed it would allow infrastructure improvements to be made without bills going up.

One of the proposals welcomed by the regulator was an £80m plan to improve the Haweswater aqueduct, which delivers water from Cumbria to Manchester and the Pennines.

Cumbrian tunnel breaks long boring record

Engineers say work is progressing well on a major new water tunnel that passes underneath a famous prehistoric stone circle near Keswick.

The Castlerigg Tunnel near Keswick is part of a £300m project which will carry water from Thirlmere reservoir to homes and businesses in West Cumbria.

United Utilities says that when completed, the project will be the longest tunnel of its type ever built in the UK.

Workers walking along tunnel

We've got to stop using Ennerdale Water as a source of water so we needed to find an alternative, and bringing the pipeline and water from Thirlmere across Cumbria to the west coast is the option that we've taken."

John HiltonUnited Utilities

Engineers warn of disruption and noise as sewer bursts

A sewer has burst on West Strand, close to Whitehaven harbour, United Utilities engineers say.

The company has warned people living nearby that repairs will go on through the night, with engineers breaking through concrete to get at the ruptured pipes over the next few hours, so some noise is likely up to 23:00.

A company spokeswoman said there had been a more serious burst at another point on the same pipe in 2017, and there would now be an investigation to see whether further work was needed.

What do water bill cuts mean?

Water bill
Getty Images

There's no specific threshold in terms of bill reduction that water companies have to reach for their business plan to be accepted by Ofwat, the industry's regulator.

So, Severn Trent Water has proposed to cut bills by £18 by 2024-25, while United Utilities is aiming for a £43 reduction and South West Water has said it can cut bills by £73.

Rather then bill reductions per se, Ofwat is more focused on whether the firms can provide a resilient service and how much each firm has to invest to achieve that.

"We have challenged all water companies to deliver more for less for customers over the next five years," says Ofwat's chief executive Rachel Fletcher.

Water firms forced to re-submit business plans

Getty Images

Regulator Ofwat says that business plans by only three water firms have been approved, meaning the unsuccessful companies will have to go back to the drawing board.

Severn Trent, South West Water and United Utilities have been given the go-ahead by Ofwat on their plans which will result in them cutting water bills by up to £70.

"In the coming months, the remaining water companies will have to strengthen their plans so they too deliver for customers," Ofwat said.

It said: "Four companies - Affinity Water, Hafren Dyfrdwy, Thames Water and Southern Water - have the most work to do in order to meet the tough challenges Ofwat has laid down for the sector."

Engineers on scene at west Cumbria water main burst

United Utilities says its engineers are on scene at Muncaster castle where a watrer main burst earlier today, flooding the road and closing two schools in the area.

Tankers have been called in to put water into the system so most people who have been cut off by the burst will regain supplies shortly.

City water mains to be renewed (meaning more road works)

United Utilities has announced a huge scheme to put modern linings into water mains that are vital to Carlisle's water supply.

Warwick Road
Getty Images

Warwick Road, which carries much of the city centre traffic into Carlisle, also runs over the two large pipes that bring in much of the drinking water, and the company says that although lining the pipes will mean less digging of holes, there will be temporary traffic lights at times.

The engineers in charge are holding two customer drop-in sessions at the Sunset Suite at Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United, between 14:00 and 19:00 on Wednesday and Thursday this week, to explain the year-long project

  • Warwick Road has been congested for several months this year by major changes at the junction with Eastern Way.