Watchdog welcomes further fall in written complaints but warns against complacency

Written complaints from customers against water companies in Wales have fallen again but the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) says there is still much more to be done.

CCWater’s annual Written Customer Complaints Report has revealed written complaints against Dee Valley Water fell by more than 28 per cent, while Wales’ biggest water company D?r Cymru Welsh Water also saw a drop of over 14 per cent.

Dee Valley Water’s complaints fell at twice the rate of the previous year while D?r Cymru Welsh Water reduced written complaints for a third successive year, meaning they are now only half what they were in 2004/05.

Severn Trent Water – which serves some customers in Wales – also saw written complaints fall for the second year running, down by nearly 14 per cent.

Diane McCrea, chair of the Consumer Council for Water Wales Committee, said: “We are pleased that, following our pressure in previous years, Dee Valley Water has reduced written complaints for a second successive year. The company is heading in the right direction to return to the low levels it reached in 2005 but for the time being it still has the second highest number of written complaints per 10,000 connections for a water only company and has much to do to improve its performance.

“D?r Cymru Welsh Water remains the second best performing water and sewerage company in England and Wales and it shows the pressure we put on companies to improve is paying dividends. There is no room for complacency though and we will continue to work closely with both companies to identify where they can improve their services even further.”

Across England and Wales written complaints made to water and sewerage companies fell for the fifth year in a row, although the 7.4 per cent reduction was slower than the previous year’s 12 per cent drop.

Telephone calls made by customers to companies to resolve problems have also fallen broadly in line with written complaints, with a similar slowing in that trend this year.

Billing and charges remains the biggest area of concern for customers in England and Wales, accounting for over 56 per cent of the total 150,942 written complaints made in the year to 31 March 2013.

And with water price limits for 2015 to 2020 set to be agreed next year, CCWater has warned companies they could face a backlash with customer complaints if they fail to deliver clear value for money.

For more information or to arrange an interview call Tim Clarke or Kate Eccles on 0121 345 1005/1006

Notes to editors

The full report can be viewed here

  • The report monitors written complaints to water and sewerage companies, received by letter, fax or email.
  • Telephone complaints are not included in this report but water companies do record unwanted contacts, where customers have had to call a company to try and resolve a problem. These calls have followed a similar pattern of decline to written complaints.
  • Because water companies are different sizes the report compares their performance by complaints per 10,000 customer connections.
  • Since it was established in 2005, CCWater has helped more than 300,000 customers with complaints or enquiries about water and sewerage services and secured over £16million in compensation and rebates.

Categories: Regions, Wales