THREE quarters of water customers in England and Wales believe they are getting value for money from their water company, according to new research from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).
CCWater has today (Tuesday) published its annual ‘Water Matters’ survey which reveals water customers’ satisfaction with value for money has risen by six per cent – the first increase in four years.1
The improvement follows efforts by most water companies to listen and act on calls from customers to hold down bills and communicate more clearly what they are getting in return for their money.
But CCWater says the water industry must now sustain this increase by delivering on its promises to improve services and cut bills before inflation, made during last year’s price-setting process for 2015 to 2020.
Tony Smith, Chief Executive of CCWater, said: “Value for money is not simply about lower bills – it’s about water companies showing their customers that they are delivering reliable services and making the improvements customers expect.”
“The rise in satisfaction levels is encouraging, but the challenge for the industry is to sustain this increase over a longer period by delivering on the promises made to their customers for the next five years.”
The survey of more than 5,700 customers also revealed the vast majority of bill payers are satisfied with their water supply (94 per cent) and sewerage services (91 per cent).
The other key findings include:
- 68 per cent of customers agree their water and sewerage charges are fair – up from 54 per cent in 2013 after two years of decline.
- Just over half of households who are not on a metered water supply are aware that their water company offers a free 12 month trial period with a water meter.2 Check out our water meter calculator to see if making the switch to a meter could save you money.
- Only a third of homeowners know that their sewerage company is responsible for maintaining any shared sewerage pipes on their property.
- Customers continue to consider water companies (75 per cent) to be more caring about the service they provide than energy suppliers (69 per cent).
Customers can use CCWater’s survey results to compare the performance of their own water company over the past four years and with other companies across England and Wales.
Customers who are struggling to pay their water bill should contact their water company or CCWater for advice on finding the support they need.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a CCWater consumer expert please contact the press office on 0121 345 1005/1006
1 75 per cent of water bill payers agreed their water charges represented value for money. Based on the sample size there is a 95 per cent likelihood that had all bill payers in England and Wales been asked this question the figure would not have altered by more or less than 1 per cent.
2 The question was only put to customers in regions where the water company offers a free 12 month trial period on water meter charges. The option to switch back to fixed charges is not available to customers in parts of England where compulsory metering programmes are being introduced.
- The Water Matters survey has been commissioned by CCWater since 2006 to assess customers’ changing views over time on water and sewerage services.
- A total of 5,763 telephone interviews were carried out with water and sewerage bill payers across England and Wales, between 28 November 2014 and 15 February 2015. At least 200 interviews were conducted with customers of each water and sewerage company and 150 with customers of each water-only company.