MP calls for beleaguered water company boss to resign after £112m paid out to shareholders

A Somerset MP has called on the boss of South West Water to stand down after it emerged the firm is paying investors £112m in dividends.

South West Water has come under fire over sewage leaks and poor performance.

And now veteran Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has called on Susan Davy – the chief executive of parent company Pennon – to resign.

The call has come after it emerged the company is under investigation again by Ofwat.

And this week it was announced Pennon made a pre-tax loss came £8.5m compared to a pre-tax profit of £127.7m a year ago.

The slump in profits has been blamed on soaring costs and the impact of last year’s drought.

The watchdog has launched an enforcement inquiry which will investigate the accuracy of statements the company made last November about its performance in reducing leaks and on customer consumption rates.

The latest investigation follows a separate Ofwat probe into how the company’s waste water treatment plants are being managed.

Ian Liddell-Grainger said the latest Ofwat intervention marked another low point in South West Water’s existence.

He added: “It may well be that all will be found to be in order but Ofwat does not launch inquiries of this nature lightly and clearly in this case it has good grounds for believing somebody has been cooking the books.”

“She should pack her bags and go, South West Water has been caring for its shareholders rather than its customers while senior staff have been pocketing obscenely inflated rewards for failing.

“The company has failed to increase storage capacity in line with the demands created by the growth in tourism and huge amounts of housebuilding with the result that the region is chronically short of water and consumers are already having to restrict their usage even before the main holiday season has started.

“Meanwhile it has been systematically polluting the local tourism industry’s greatest asset – the beaches of Devon and Cornwall. How much more failure do we have to put up with?”

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