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Tuesday, 04 August 2015

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Cumbria water supplier United Utilities splashes out on upgrades

Cumbria's water supplier spent more than £50 million on infrastructure projects in the county last year.

United Utilities said it invested a total of £680m on projects across the north west in the last 12 months – 29 per cent more than in the previous year.

Its Cumbrian work included: a new £17m centrifuge at Carlisle wastewater treatment works; a “multi-million pound” scheme to develop new water supplies in west Cumbria; and a £6.7m scheme to improve sewage works around Langwathby, near Penrith.

The company – the north west’s only FTSE 100 firm – revealed the figures in its full year financial results, which saw a small drop in profits as it ramped up investment in both infrastructure and customer service.

Revenues were £1.56bn, up from £1.51 billion, while underlying pre-tax profits fell from £329.2m to £327m.

Chief executive Steve Mogford said: “We’ve delivered a good set of results despite the tough economic climate, and customers are reaping the benefits.

“Our focus on operational performance has led to a marked improvement in customer satisfaction and we are on track as we head towards the mid-point of our current five-year investment programme.

“Not only is it bringing real quality-of-life improvements, our capital investment programme is also breathing life into the region’s economy, supporting some 9,000 jobs and contributing around £7bn through our supply chain.”

The firm said it had delivered improvements for customers, including a new online account management system, more contact options and improved staff training. Those measures helped the business move five places up regulator Ofwat’s rankings of the 21 water companies, from last to 16th.

The company also met its leakage target for the sixth consecutive year.

The firm, which supplies 3.2m households and businesses across the north west, also announced it had revived its graduate recruitment scheme, cancelled in 2009 due to economic uncertainty.


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