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Southern Water to compensate Sittingbourne customers and schools that had to close after last week's shortage

By KentOnline reporter

Households in and around Sittingbourne whose water supplies were cut off following this week's 'big thaw' are to receive compensation.

Taps ran dry on Sunday evening after a series of burst pipes and thousands of people were still without water the following day, leading to queues outside supermarkets and a rush on bottled water.

Some had to do without for more than 18 hours and some schools were forced to close.

People queueing for water at Sittingbourne's Aldi. Picture: Amy Gambrill

Southern Water, which manages supplies in the area, was criticised for its communication, after sending a series of tweets giving false hope about when supplies would be back on.

Today, the company announced how customers would be compensated and it vowed to pay schools £2,000.

Anyone without water for less than 12 hours will get £25. Those without water for more than 12 hours will get £50 and any households without a supply for more than 24 hours will be given £75.

It should be paid directly into people's accounts within the next week to 10 days.

The water shortage hit the shelves at Sainsbury's in Sittingbourne

A statement from the firm said: "We've worked around the clock over the last week to restore supplies to our communities during exceptional circumstances and we understand the problems the recent disruptions have caused.

"Now we’re taking the same approach to compensation and doing more to help those customers and schools who were affected.

"We are working hard to identify all properties affected and will automatically compensate customers' accounts."

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