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Saur and Veolia again condemned for reductions in water flow

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – KENZO TRIBOUILLARD – | Veolia was convicted for reducing the water supply in two dwellings

The Veolia and Saur groups were again convicted for reducing the water supply to two dwellings, a practice that has been repeatedly considered illegal by the courts, according to judicial decisions that AFP was able to consult.

In a first case, Saur was sentenced on 17 August to an overall fine of 9,000 euros, including 5,000 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage, for reducing the flow of water in a client’s dwelling for more than 14 months between February 2016 and May 2017, according to the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Nanterre.

Veolia was sentenced in mid-June by the District Court of Lens to a fine of 4,000 euros for reducing a client’s water flow for almost 4 months between February and May.

However, since a law of 2013 (Brottes law), and its decree of application of February 2014, water cuts are prohibited in a main residence, whatever the financial situation of the customers concerned.

Moreover, in previous cases the courts have extended this prohibition to reductions in throughput, considering that they have the same consequences as a disruption by depriving the inhabitants of the normal use of water, housing is described as decent.

The reduction in flow is achieved by installing a “lens” on the water pipe, a device that limits the diameter of the branch of the affected subscribers.

It is not the first time that Saur and Veolia are condemned for this practice.

“It is high time that the multinationals (…) cease these practices (…) We will continue as much as necessary to sue the multinational water companies for their illegal actions,” said Emmanuel Poilane, de France Libertés, an association that fights against water cuts.

“The practice of debit reduction, which was subject to different interpretations of the Brottes Act, was clarified by a decision of the Nimes Court of Appeal of 9 February 2017” and “it has been clearly stated that no further action will be taken to reductions in throughput, “Veolia responded.

When questioned, Saur also took note of the previous court rulings and decided “no longer to practice lentilage practices”.

However, the group considers that the question of the means given to providers to recover the arrears of people with the means to pay their bills arises and that the systems of identification of the precarious people are not sufficiently effective.

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