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Thames denies £1bn cost of lower pressure

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THAMES WATER this week hit back at claims that its plan to cut the pressure of London's water supply could saddle London boroughs and homeowners with a £1bn bill.

The utility dismissed as 'wildly inaccurate' the claim made by the London Assembly's Health & Public Services Committee (HPSC).

The committee said that tall building owners would need to spend £1bn - on pumps to force water to their upper floors, and on backflow regulators to prevent contaminated water overloading drains.

A Thames spokesman said its surveys showed that the proposed water pressure cut to reduce leakage rates would cost about £20M in pumps for tall buildings.

This contrasts with the Association of London Governments' (ALG) estimate that pumps would cost £90M to £340M to install.

The spokesman said Thames hoped to agree with the ALG soon how these costs would be shared.

'We accept there is an onus on us to pay a significant proportion of the costs but we think there is a shared responsibility, ' he said.

Thames also dismissed claims that it should pay for backflow devices. It said building owners were already obliged to fit such devices under existing water regulations.

HPSC chair Joanne Mc Cartney said investigation of recent evidence from Thames did not bear out its claim that the bill for installing pumps would be as low as £20M.

McCartney accused Thames of being 'unwilling to bear the cost' despite the fact that the pressure cut could boost profits through reduced leakage rates.

Damian Arnold INFOPLUS View the London Assembly report on the pressure cut at www. nceplus. co. uk

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