The water industry must do more to prove it is offering value for money after a report by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) showed customers are now more satisfied with some other utilities, including energy.
The latest annual Water Matters (pdf) survey by the consumer watchdog shows about three-quarters of households in England and Wales are satisfied they get value for money from their water (73%) and sewerage (76%) services.
But CCWater says the industry as a whole is in danger of slipping behind other utilities, including gas and electricity (80%) and telephone landline providers (79%), where customer satisfaction with value for money has overtaken water.
Tony Smith, CCWater’s Chief Executive, said: “Water customers’ satisfaction with value for money has improved over the past decade but the industry cannot afford to be complacent.”
“Value for money is not just about reducing bills. It’s about water companies sharing their financial successes with customers and showing them how their money is being used to provide an excellent service that meets their expectations.”
Some water companies have performed well compared to others in the sector over the past five years and are now leading the way on customer satisfaction with value for money. These include Northumbrian Water (84%), Dee Valley Water (80%), Yorkshire Water (79%), Severn Trent (78%), Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (78%) and Hartlepool Water (78%), whose customers are among the most satisfied with the value for money of their water supply.
The survey of more than 5,400 customers found that most bill payers were satisfied with their water supply (93%) and sewerage service (88%).
It also revealed that significantly more households in Wales are satisfied with the value for money and quality of their water and sewerage services, compared to England.
CCWater will use the findings to press home the importance of water companies engaging with customers as they develop their business plans for the next Price Review in 2019.
Preparations for the next price-setting process are already gathering pace and CCWater will once again play a leading role in making sure companies produce price and service plans for 2020 to 2025 that reflect what customers want and can afford.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact the press office on 0121 345 1005/1006.