Fears increase over faulty water meters

FEARS deepened today over the potential for faulty water meters to flood dozens of Ipswich homes after an Anglian Water employee claimed the problem was far worse than the company was admitting.

FEARS deepened today over the potential for faulty water meters to flood dozens of Ipswich homes after an Anglian Water employee claimed the problem was far worse than the company was admitting.

Anglian Water has admitted thousands of properties are fitted with substandard meters that could malfunction, causing flooding, but says 99.9 per cent of the meters will not fail.

An Anglian Water employee, who asked not to be named publicly because he feared for his job, claimed more than 10 properties throughout the company's customer base were flooded each week.

"There's been loads of incidences of flooding," he said.

"The reason they stopped using them was they started falling off the walls.

"I would be worried if I had one of those in my house."

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After The Evening Star broke the story of the faulty meters on November 23, Anglian Water said it was working hard to fix the problem with the meters.

That pledge came after three flats in Birkfield Drive, Ipswich, suffered severe damage when one of the devices, which all have a green lever, burst.

The company is now urging customers who have meters with the green levers to be on the lookout for leaks.

"The message we are giving is that if you've got an internal water meter with a green lever beside it you should look for any signs of a leak," Anglian Water head of communications Andrew Mackintosh said.

The company says it is planning a process of staged replacements which will be conducted area by area but, in the meantime, it is reassuring customers that most of them will not encounter problems with their meters.

"This isn't putting people at risk because if people have got a leak we'll go out and fix it immediately," Mr Mackintosh said.

"If anyone's uncertain at all ring us and if there's a real concern we'll get someone out there."

That message has failed to reassure some customers who fear returning home to find their homes flooded.

Shirley Hudson, a retiree of Richmond Road, Ipswich, said: "I called the number and they said that unless the meters were seeping or leaking in any way they were not doing anything about them.

"I wasn't very pleased. If you go out you could come back and find the place flooded.

"If they know something is wrong they should replace all of them."

Robert Cox, who lives in one of the Birkfield Close flats which were flooded, is furious with Anglian Water's handling of the problem.

Walls in his flat are cracked, floors are without carpeting and he faces the prospect of his property not being replaced new-for-old by Anglian Water's insurance.

"They told me items won't be replaced on a new-for-old-basis," Mr Cox said. I find that hard to believe because Anglian Water knew those meters were going to fail.

"I'm pretty angry. Anglian Water have not even contacted me to apologise."

Customers with a water meter with a green lever are asked to call Anglian Water on 08457 145 145 and provide their name, address and meter reference number so they can be added to the list of properties requiring a replacement.

Weblink: www.anglianwater.co.uk

N Has your home been flooded by a faulty water meter? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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