Northern Ireland Water is facing another embarrassing blunder after a misprint of its helpline number appeared on leaflets sent to thousands of homes across Northern Ireland.
The new leaflet from the water agency, which provides information about protecting pipes from freezing during the winter, has already caused confusion among some householders trying to ring the helpline.
Circulated to homes this week, the leaflet, Frozen Pipes Disrupt Lives, comes after last year’s water debacle which saw thousands of people without water over the Christmas period.
It provides information on how to protect pipes from freezing, and what to do if your pipes freeze or burst, and forms part of NI Water’s public winter awareness campaign.
Part of the advice is a contact number for its emergency line.
The number given on the inside of the leaflet is missing a digit, and householders trying to use it are met with only a dead line.
A correct version of the helpline number is printed on the back of the flyer.
NI Water has admitted the blunder, but said it won’t be re-issuing the leaflets.
The number has already caused confusion however.
A concerned woman who contacted the Belfast Telegraph noticed the mistake when she was taking her elderly mother through the procedure she should follow if her pipes burst or the water supply was cut.
The Belfast resident, who did not want to be identified, said: “We were reading through what precautions to take if the weather turned bad again and I was telling her to write her plumber’s name and number down in the space provided and how to call NI Water if the supply was cut.
“I pointed out the emergency number inside and on the back when I noticed that they looked different, which was confusing.
“I rang the one inside and it was just dead.”
“I think that after last year when people couldn’t even get through, they’d have at least got the number right,” she said.
Chair of the Regional Development Committee, Jimmy Spratt branded the mistake “another faux pas from NI Water”.
“It’s a stupid mistake that should not have been made if it had been properly proof-read,” the DUP MLA said.
“I must say I’m not impressed with this and I will certainly be raising it with officials first thing tomorrow morning.”
“And I’ll be wanting to know the cost of this misprint.”
In a statement issued to the Belfast Telegraph, NI Water said the mistake was a “printing error”.
“This error has been quickly corrected at no extra cost,” it said.
“NI Water would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused with regards this number.”
The correct number for the NI Water Waterline is 08457 44 00 88.