Southern Water told to “keep up the momentum” as written complaints fall

Efforts by Southern Water to curb the number of written complaints it receives from customers are making encouraging progress – but the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has told the company it must “keep up the momentum.”

Figures published by the consumer watchdog, CCWater, today (Tuesday) reveal that written complaints made against Southern Water fell by 46 per cent from April 2016 to September 2016 – compared to the same period last year.1

The company was challenged by CCWater to improve its performance after being named the industry’s worst performer for written complaints from customers during 2015/16. That prompted CCWater to write to Southern Water to ask it to explain what action it was taking to reduce complaints. Three other water companies across England and Wales received similar letters.

Sir Tony Redmond, London and South East Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “We’re encouraged by this reduction in complaints which suggests the action Southern Water is taking is beginning to make a difference.”

“But the company has a lot of ground to make up on the rest of the industry so we want to see it continue this momentum through the rest of the year and beyond.”

Southern Water’s performance has been highlighted in CCWater’s Delving into Water report, which compares how well water companies across England and Wales are performing for customers across a wide range of services.

The company has been asked to provide CCWater with another update in January on its complaint-handling to ensure it is on track to improve its standing in the industry.

You can read the full Delving into Water report here (pdf)

1 CCWater 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 CCWater’s annual complaints report (pdf). 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.