Water companies must improve customer satisfaction with value for money

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) revealed today that for water and sewerage services, there is a large gap between customers’ satisfaction with the service they receive and its value for money. While customers are reasonably satisfied with the service they get, their satisfaction with value for money is much lower.

For the first time CCWater has this year published the full report on its website in a way which allows water customers to look at the results for their company and compare them across the industry.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water said: “Customers’ views reflect the continuing price increases and water companies’ lack of communication about what they are doing with the extra money they are getting from customers. CCWater will be pushing water companies, particularly the poor performers, to improve their communication with their customers and show an improved trend on customer satisfaction with value for money. We will also be pressing for water regulation to incentivise water companies to improve this vital measure of success for the industry.”

Customer satisfaction with value for money in water and sewerage is broadly in line with the energy sector where bills are much higher.

Some water companies perform much better than average. CCWater highlight Northumbrian Water, Yorkshire Water and Portsmouth Water as the companies who really demonstrate what can be achieved when the right approaches are taken.

The worst performer, South West Water, has the hardest job to do with only 35% of its customers being satisfied with the value for money. However, this is unsurprising as historically they have the highest bills in England and Wales because of their particular environmental challenges. The recent announcement of a £50 government payment towards future water bills may go someway to addressing this.

CCWater will ensure the customers’ voice is heard by the water companies as companies develop investment proposals and business plans for the next pricing period, 2015 -2020.

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