Water company faces closer scrutiny after rise in complaints

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has called on Bournemouth Water to improve its service after the company reported a sharp rise in complaints from customers.

Today’s (September 21) report by the consumer watchdog, CCWater, reveals that Bournemouth Water saw a 90.6 per cent rise in written customer complaints in 2015/16.

The increase – which was the second largest of any water company in England and Wales – was fuelled by problems caused by the introduction of a new billing system, with customers having to wait longer to get through to the company.

David Heath CBE, Western Chair for the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Bournemouth Water’s performance over the past year has not been good enough and the company is aware of this.”

“I have asked them to give me assurances by the end of October that action is being taken to reduce complaints and avoid a repeat of the problems customers encountered last year.”

Bournemouth remains just below the industry average despite being among ten water companies to see a rise in complaints. Across England and Wales written complaints fell marginally by 0.5 per cent – down from 106,693 to 106,196. Telephone calls made by customers to water companies to resolve problems also continued to fall.1

South West Water marginally reduced written complaints for a second successive year (down 0.4 per cent), but the company has a lot more work to do to improve its standing as the second poorest performing water and sewerage company.

Wessex Water has been praised by CCWater for cementing its place as the industry’s best performing water and sewerage company with another impressive 19.2 per cent reduction in written complaints.

You can read the full CCWater report here (pdf)

1 CCWater’s report focuses primarily on written complaints made by customers as these provide the most comparable and consistent way of assessing the performance of each water company. Information on unwanted telephone contacts is also included in the report. But these do not exclusively include complaints and can cover a wide range of telephone calls where customers have reported a service issue or had to chase their water company for action to be taken.