Hosepipe ban but Water Watchdog still expects high quality service

The Consumer Council for Water will be looking at how water companies plan to improve services to customers when it meets in Newcastle on Thursday 8 July.

The water regulator, Ofwat, assesses a water company’s customer service and can either financially reward or penalise the company, depending on how well it performs. Following pressure from the Consumer Council for Water to enhance the criteria for customer service, Ofwat is changing the way it measures this.     Andrea Cook, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water’s Northern Committee, said: “Because household customers are not able to choose their water supplier, incentives for water companies need to be in place to ensure that customers don’t lose out when it comes to the quality of the service they receive. Today, nine out of 10 water customers tell us that they’re happy with the service their company provides but we are pleased that Ofwat has looked to see where standards could be improved.

“At the meeting, we will be speaking to local water companies about the changes to how their customer service is assessed; we would welcome members of the public coming along to share their views.”

Other issues on the agenda include a discussion on how water companies are addressing the problem of sewer flooding, a review of the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s latest report on water quality, updates on companies’ activities and operations and updates on the number of complaints received by the Consumer Council for Water about the companies.

The watchdog’s Northern Committee represents customers of Hartlepool Water, Northumbrian Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities.

Members of the public are welcome to attend and will have an opportunity to raise any issues relating to water and sewerage services during the listening session at the start of the meeting.

The meeting will begin at 11 am on Thursday 8 July 2010 at The Civic Centre in Newcastle NE1 8PP.