The protection of customers and employees took centre stage for South East Water amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The water company, which supplies drinking water to more than 2.2 million customers across five counties, pulled out all the stops to continue to provide a reliable service.
Specially-trained technicians continue to work in the field using physical distancing and PPE when appropriate, in the continued effort to protect the vast network of underground pipes in Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Kent and Sussex.
Meanwhile, Environmental teams are covering a number of areas from managing recreation sites for public use to ensuring environmental risk is minimised throughout the work that the company does both planned and reactive
Catchment Management scientists have been busy carrying out new investigations, studying land use, soils, geology and hydrology as well as important protected species surveys to ensure the company can continue its investment in infrastructure without delay.
Teams have been kitted out with protective equipment in accordance with government guidance and knowledge to help combat the spread of coronavirus, as well as evidence of their key worker status.
By continuing to maintain and enhance the water network, South East Water can ensure reliable tap water supplies to customers businesses and, very importantly, hospitals.
Contingency plans have also been put in place in case of a major water incident which, although rare, can cause significant disruption to local communities.
Plans include a drive-thru style bottled water station, where customers can pull up in vehicles and collect bottles of water to take home in a way that ensures social distancing measures are maintained.
Much of the company’s focus has been based on encouraging customers to sign up for South East Water’s Priority Services Register (PSR), which is there to protect elderly, sick and vulnerable people.
Through the PSR, customers can receive prior warning about any planned work which may temporarily interrupt their water supply, have bottled water safely delivered or even nominate family members to manage water bills on their behalf.
The company’s thriving Customer Service team continues to provide a top-quality service to customers with staff providing the service they always have provided from their own homes, rather than their Kent-based head office.
Potential sources of pollution are also being investigated to help gather background intelligence for use once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
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