Engineering Water Bills for Financial Gain: The Case of the Thames Water 14 Million

Most of us have no choice over who supplies our household water or the amount that we have to pay for it. Since the privatization of household water in England and Wales in 1989, many of the water companies have ended up in the hands of global investors, from as far afield as Australia, Canada and China. Water, you would have thought, makes for a stable, predictable investment. But it’s not the water that is of real interest to the global investors. It’s us, the people who have no choice but to pay our water bills on a regular basis for the foreseeable future. Using the example of Thames Water and its14 million households in the south east of England, this talk is about how households have effectively been packaged and sold to global investors as, arguably, a captive, human revenue stream. When Thames Water’s customers turn on the tap, the revenues and profits more or less flow worldwide.

Presentation time: 
Thursday, 3 July, 2014 - 18:30
Presenter(s): 

John Allen

Photo of John Allen

John Allen’s teaching and research experience includes work on issues of power and spatiality, more recently in relation to financialization, privatization, biopower and topology.

He is currently engaged on an Australian Research Council funded research project with colleagues at The University of Western Sydney which addresses the financialization of infrastructure, with an eye to its topological traits.