We are Thames Water, the largest Water and Wastewater Services Provider in the UK. We are officially known as Thames Water Utilities Ltd (‘TWUL’) and we are wholly owned by Kemble Water Holdings Limited.
The purpose of this Privacy Notice is to make it easier for you to understand how TWUL use and protect your personal data.
This Privacy Notice outlines how and what personal data we collect, how that data is used, stored, retained and the basis on which we disclose your personal data (this means any information which identifies you or allows us to identify you when combined with other data), as well as your rights in respect of such personal data.
We take your personal data privacy very seriously and we are committed to protecting your personal data. We encourage you to read the sections below thoroughly.
If we make any significant changes impacting your privacy, we will make this clear on our website. Please remember to check from time to time.
How do we collect personal data?
We may collect your personal data in a number of ways, for example:
- when you register with us and set up an account to receive our services;
- when you contact us through our websites, by telephone, post, e-mail or through any other means;
- when you have a smart meter;
- when you complete surveys that we use for research purposes (although you are not obliged to respond to them);
- when you participate in our Social Community Forum
- when you enter a competition or promotion;
- when you make payments to us, through this website or otherwise;
- when you use our services;
- when we collect data from other parties such as market retailers;
- when we request data from specialist organisations, for example to locate a current occupier of a property;
- when we use CCTV on Thames Water sites and locations where we are undertaking operational activity;
- when we receive your personal data from third parties, for example, credit reference agencies, or fraud prevention organisations, landlords, managing agents and previous occupiers and landlords, managing agents and previous occupiers; and
- when we collect publicly available information about you.
Information collected automatically – statistical information:
We automatically collect some information about your visit to our websites but this does not record personally identifiable information. This is technical information about how your browser and the device you are using interacts with our website and does not reveal personal details like your name, address and payment information. Personal data does not include information where your identity has been removed or is unknown.
We group together the technical information we collect about all our website users and aggregate it for analysis to understand how users prefer to use our website and where we should make changes to make it work more efficiently and better for you.
The sort of information recorded includes how many people visit our website, which pages and items are the most popular and about how you use and interact with our website.
Our websites use “cookies”.
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit.
They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the website. Cookies do not record name, address or payment details for instance.
What personal data do we collect?
We may collect the following types of personal data:
- your name, address, email address, date of birth, telephone (landline) number, and mobile telephone number;
- information about your billing and payment history, and information we learn from the way you manage your account;
- information about your credit history with other credit providers which we obtain from credit reference agencies;
- some of the information we collect about you may include special category data; if you have provided us with details of your health, we will use that information where you need to be treated as a Vulnerable or Priority Customer for water needs.
- If you volunteer other relevant information about your circumstances which affect your ability to pay your bills, we will take account of those details;
- Information about your use of our services, including information about your water usage which we collect from meters.
Smart Metering - Why do we use smart meters?
Managing water supplies will only get more difficult as our population grows and our climate changes.
As a result, we need to modernise the way we manage supplies by fitting meters across our region, helping to protect supplies for future generations.
Smart meters send us regular meter reads (hourly/daily/monthly), so we can:
- give you frequent information so that you can be in control of your water use and your bill;
- let you know if you have a leak on your external pipe;
- give you accurate bills based on what you have used;
- help you with any queries quickly;
- measure the amount of water that is used by our customers so we can maintain our network more efficiently; and,
- identify leaks on our network and act quickly to fix them.
Find more information about how we use your data for the smart metering programme here.
We are committed to improving the service we provide to our customers. Essential to this is the need to understand, directly from our customers, how well we are currently doing. We use this information to create and monitor change. Gathering this feedback also provides us with an opportunity to reconnect with our customers and ‘put things right’ should they be less than happy with our service.
We use a variety of methods to gather feedback from our customers. We may do this ourselves, but equally we also rely on a small number of partner organisations. We have Data Sharing Agreements in place with these agencies and all conform to Market Research Society Codes of Conduct. The following agencies undertake the most work for us:
- Rant & Rave carry out the bulk of our customer surveys. You may get a text, email or landline voicemail, asking a number of different questions, including your satisfaction with the service and whether you would recommend Thames Water. This will most often happen after interactions on the phone, website or after a visit from one of our technicians or contractors. Occasionally, and in particular during service failures, we may use Rant & Rave to proactively keep you updated; and to help us gather information to best service your needs in the moment. If you are dissatisfied with our service, we may look to reconnect with you to put things right.
- BMG (Bostock Marketing Group) work on behalf of our Regulator (Ofwat) and ourselves. Every three months, Ofwat commissions BMG to phone a number of our customers who have recently made contact with us to ask them for their view on the service we provided. They may also ask some demographic questions to enable Ofwat to understand whether we are treating all our customers fairly. BMG also carry out the same survey on behalf of Thames Water, however this is done on a weekly basis.
- Allto Consulting also work on behalf of our Regulator. Ofwat are in the process of piloting a new way of measuring the service Water companies provide. Allto Consulting may contact our customers through a number of different ways, including telephone, text, email and online. Surveys will be conducted on any customers within the Thames Water area, regardless of whether they have made contact with the water company.
- Populus are employed by us to conduct quarterly surveys on customers within our area (contactors and non-contactors). They recruit and utilise their own online panel of customers, asking them specifically about whether they would recommend Thames Water and further questions to understand reasoning behind their scores. They also undertake various other forms of research on our behalf, including focus groups, online surveys and panels, telephone, face-to-face and in the street surveying
- Other companies that we partner with include: BritainThinks, Verve, eftec and Community Research. All companies undertake various forms of research on our behalf, including focus groups, online surveys and panels, telephone, face-to-face and in the street surveying.
Customers may opt out or stop any service improvement surveying at any point in time – whether that’s stopping any further surveys or withdrawing partway through the activity. Other than the Rant & Rave survey, customers will always be asked whether they wish to remain anonymous to Thames Water.
Customer data generated through these routes will only be used for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the service we provide, how we can improve it and with the intention of helping customers during incidents if required. (This is not used for any Marketing activity).
We collect and store the following information (which may include personal data) that you and/or your agent provide:
- personal details you and/or your agent submit to us via this website: https://www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk/ (the "Website"), such as name, address, and email address. This includes information provided at the time of registering with our site or when requesting services from us.
- details you and/or your agent submit which relate to the property on which searches are to be carried out, including the address, current registered proprietor, current use and future use.
- details of any contact you and/or your agent make to us, we may keep a record of that correspondence (including email).
- details of the transactions you and/or your agent carry out through the Website and of the fulfilment of your orders; and,
- details of your, and/or your agent, visits to the Website and the resources that you and/or your agent access.
For more information about property searches please visit the website here.
Developer Services offers a wide range of products and services, with expert advice and assistance for all of our customers. We are responsible for providing new assets, adoption of new and existing assets and ensuring they meet our standards.
We will use the information you provide on Developer Services application forms to provide the service you’ve requested. We potentially share it with our delivery partners, to provide the service you’ve requested.
This could include contacting you to discuss your application and/or provide more details, visiting the site where work needs to be carried out, and invoicing you when appropriate.
We won’t use this information for marketing purposes without contacting you to seek your consent.
For more information about Developer Services please visit the website here.
Social Community Forum
The objective of this project is to deliver a self-managed social community platform for end customers to help each other with standard queries, and share knowledge through discussion forums.
End users need to register to this website to participate in any topics or threads in the forums.
As part of registration, we capture name, email address and display name.
This isn’t a customer service channel so there will be no personal information posted in these forums. There will be moderators who will be monitoring the end user activity.
Keeping your personal data safe
The security of your personal data is very important to us. We will ensure that the personal information that you provide us via this website is held on secure servers.
We will take appropriate technical and organisational measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and protect against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to personal data.
Details of payments that you make to us, payment card details and other transaction details are held by a third party payment provider who must comply with strict security and confidentiality rules and comply with data protection legislation.
How long do we keep your information?
We have a retention policy in place and will store your personal data as long as necessary for the provision of our services.
We take all reasonable steps to retain your information for as long as is necessary to fulfil our contractual and legal obligations to you.
Using the personal data we collect
We may use your personal data in the following ways:
- to provide you with our services, and to develop and improve those services;
- to protect, manage and administer your account and provide you with bills and statements;
- to deal with any problems or complaints that arise in relation to your account;
- for assessment and analysis purposes to help improve the operation of our business;
- to prevent, detect and prosecute fraud and other crime;
- to comply with our legal obligations;
- for any other purpose for which you have given us consent; and,
- to make sure we can supply you with water or/and wastewater services at your property and obtain payment for that service.
Our Legal Basis for processing personal data
Thames Water is not reliant on consent for processing your information; instead we rely on four other lawful bases to process, which are:
- Public Task – We provide a vital lifesaving service which is the provision of clean water and the disposal of waste water.
- Legal Obligation – We are obligated to provide you with our service under the Water Industry Act 1991 and the Human Rights Act 2010, as part our role as a UK based Water company we are legally obligated to provide you water and bill you for it, if we weren’t able to process your information for the purposes of billing we wouldn’t be able to sustain our business and this would have an adverse effect to public interest and health.
- Legitimate interest – In some circumstances we have a legitimate interest to retain and source your information for uncollected revenue, to improve the operation of our business, to achieve our goals to reduce leakage across our network (Given to us as an OFWAT directive) and to improve the accuracy of our information.
- Vital interest – In certain circumstances we process special category data, we do this to ensure we can offer our customer with the help and support they need, this would normally come in the form of social tariffs (Where we may be able to reduce the cost of our water bills because our customer is in hardship) or our Priority Services Register (PSR) this is where we retain a register of our most vulnerable customers who need extra help during supply interruption.
How we share your personal data
We may share your personal data:
- with our employees, agents and/or professional advisors;
- with other companies within the Thames Group, and with successors-in-title to our business;
- with other third party contractors who provide services to us which require the processing of personal data; This means external to TWUL whether intra group or external;
- with third party payment providers who process payments made over our website;
- where we are under a legal obligation to do so, for example where we are required to share information under statute or because of a Court Order;
- to relevant authorities in order to prevent fraud and other criminal offences; and
- with credit reference agencies;
- with debt collection agencies;
- with retailers and other parties acting on your behalf;
- with the Non-household Market Operator and the Central Market Operating System maintained by the Market Operator Service Limited (MOSL);
- with Homeserve Membership Limited our insurance partner. Homeserve might contact you to support with ongoing customer journey with cover for areas of the home not currently covered by Thames Water. We offer our customers an introductory rate to Plumbing & Drainage Plus cover, an insurance product to offer assistance; and,
- with other water companies.
If you wish to be contacted by our selected partners, to introduce you to water related news and services which may interest you, please call us on 0800 980 8800.
Transferring personal data outside the EEA
- in some cases we may transfer your personal data to countries outside the European Economic Area. Where we do so, we will ensure that such transfers are compliant with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation and that appropriate measures are put in place to keep your personal data secure.
We have contractual arrangements in place with third party partners and agents who perform services on our behalf. These partners may include printers, IT specialists, research firms and credit card processors.
We only choose third party service partners that we can trust and when we use them, we disclose only the personal information that is necessary to deliver the service provided. We have contracts in place that require them to keep your information secure and process it in accordance with our instructions.
Credit Reference Agencies
How do we use the information we receive?
We share your personal data with, and receive your personal data from, credit reference agencies in order to help us maintain up-to-date customer records, manage our customer debt risk, and feed information into our debt collection process.
The information we receive from credit reference agencies may be used in the following ways:
- to assess your account and decide what payment terms are appropriate;
- to verify your identity;
- to manage your personal account;
- to maintain up-to-date customer records;
- to manage our customer debt risk and our debt collection process; and,
- to undertake periodic statistical analysis or testing to ensure the accuracy of existing and future products and services.
If you owe us money and do not repay in accordance with our payment terms, we will notify you of our intention to file a default. If your bill remains unpaid then we will notify our credit reference agency. This could result in your credit rating being negatively impacted.
Information that we give and receive from credit reference agencies includes:
- information about your personal accounts with us and about your accounts with other organisations such as other utility companies;
- information about your spouse or others with whom you are jointly liable for credit payments; and,
- where you are the owner, director or partner in a small business, information about your business.
In addition, credit reference agencies may provide us with public information about you such as County Court Judgements, bankruptcies and Electoral Register Information.
Your data privacy rights
At any point while we are in possession of or processing your personal data, you, the data subject, have the following rights, although they are all affected by different conditions and limitations:
- Right to be informed - you have the right to know how Thames Water is using your personal data and for what purposes. This information is provided in this privacy notice.
- Right of access – you have the right to request a free copy of the information that we hold about you.
- When requesting a copy of your information we will ask you to specify what data you would like to see, to ensure that we can respond to your request as quickly as possible
- Right of rectification – you have a right to correct data that we hold about you that is inaccurate or incomplete.
- Right to erasure – in certain circumstances you can ask for the data we hold about you to be erased from our records.
- Right to restriction of processing – where certain conditions apply.
- Right of portability – you have the right to have the data we hold about you transferred to another organisation.
- Right to object – you have the right to object to certain types of processing such as direct marketing.
- Right to object to automated processing, including profiling – you also have the right not to be subject to any effects of automated processing or profiling.
You also have the right to lodge a complaint regarding our use of your data. Please tell us first, so we have a chance to address your concerns. If we fail in this, you can address any complaint to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, either by calling their helpline or as directed on their website at www.ico.org.uk.
Please let us know if the personal data that we hold about you needs to be updated by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you provide us with special category data, we will process this information for the purposes which you have provided it.
Subject Access Request - SAR
You can request a copy of the information that we hold about you at any time through contacting us by phone, email or letter at the address at the bottom of this notice.
You will be required to prove your identity and then we will provide the information to you free of charge within a month. In some cases, we may need time extension due to the length of the request, in such cases we will agree with you an appropriate response period.
Communicating with us:
- If you have any questions related to this Privacy Notice or access to any personal information you have provided to us.
- If you contact us by email, or provide your email address for us to contact you, we may use the details provided to contact you about anything to do with your query, or managing your account.
- If you no longer wish us to contact you by email, please let us know and, if necessary, provide alternative contact details.
- If you contact us by telephone, your call may be recorded for training and service-related purposes.
Communicating with you:
From time to time we, and other companies in the Thames Group, may tell you about water-related goods or services that we believe may be of benefit to you.
When we contact you for this purpose we will give you an opportunity to opt-out from receiving such communications in future if you so wish.
If you would like to write to us please send your letter to:
Thames Water Data Protection Officer
If you prefer to contact us by email, please send your query or request to: email@example.com