Image for Southern Water savaged ... and no response to Susan of Howrah

The front page of The Mercury today details some of the failings of Southern Water (Article linked Below) ... among the trio of self-professed management expertise from the State Service to speak at the Conference on public sector management I wrote of earlier (The wasteful, greedy aimless public sector gurus’ Henry Jones indulgence)  is the manager of Southern Water who has hidden behind a junior manager to carry the can for this ballsup (so he’s clearly got one talent needed to succeed (the ability to deflect blame ). The other Henry Jones luminaries were Rhys Edwards of DPAC, the most bloated and useless department which exists only to second guess what other agencies have done and Tony Ferrell from Treasury, the next most bloated and useless Department which would do more reliable estimates if it used a dartboard (or maybe it does ).

*Nugget Combs holds a managing position with the State of Tasmania

Meryl Naidoo, The Mercury:

THE controversial $54 million rollout of water meters in Tasmania is way behind schedule, is riddled with problems and faces a cost blowout.

Only 9000 of a scheduled 24,000 meters have been installed on Hobart’s Eastern Shore and the scheme is turning into another public relations disaster for Southern Water.

Homeowners are complaining of faulty meters, trampled gardens and poor communication with the water corporation. A residents’ lobby group and the Master Plumbers Association of Tasmania blame some of the problems on the use of untrained contractors.

Plumbers association executive officer Adrian Cowie said there were reports that contractors were not properly trained to do the work.

“The workmanship is appalling, which can be expected if not carried out by qualified tradespeople,” Mr Cowie said. “Some of the work requires remedial work.”

Southern Water executive manager of asset and service strategy Russell Fox confirmed there were problems with meters and the program was behind schedule.

“[Faulty meters] are being addressed by the manufacturer under the meter warranty,” Mr Fox said.

But the corporation denied using unqualified workers.

Residents Against Water Meters spokesman and Hobart alderman Jeff Briscoe said there had been a string of complaints about the rollout.

He said many meters didn’t work and residents claimed they had been left with trampled gardens and damaged bushes. And many complained that, when there were problems, it was difficult to get a straight answer from the company.

“People understood they would be installed below ground, enclosed in a case, but many are potentially dangerous above the ground and residents aren’t happy,” Ald Briscoe said.

“Some meters had been put in backwards and then had to be reinstalled, some are faulty and noisy meters.

“There’s no consistency, which begs questions about the skills of those carrying out the installation.”

Ald Briscoe said the problems fuelled public anger about the rollout of the meters.

“All these problems will cost Tasmanians more money,” he said.

“It’s a waste of more than $50 million that could have gone elsewhere.

“This blunder not only cost consumers in high water and sewerage bills, it’s an inconvenience because the company can’t even get the installation right.”

New South Wales firm Skilltech Consulting has been contracted for the rollout.

Mr Cowie said an offer from the plumbers association to provide training to workers had been declined by Southern Water.

Southern Water yesterday said all installations had to be “signed off” by a licensed plumber.

Mercury HERE

Meanwhile, no response ... despite a direct request from Tasmanian Times for comment on Susan of Howrah’s complaint (Southern Water, please explain)

Here’s Susan’s squashed bulbs and muddied lawn a week later: