Statement on EFRA committee report on regulation

The Consumer Council for Water has published a statement in response to the recommendations made by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Inquiry into Regulation of the Water Industry:

On leakage:

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “The committee’s report echoes our view that water companies have not shown enough ambition in reducing leakage. Consumers see leakage as a dreadful waste and we know it also dampens their own motivation to use water wisely. We’ve repeatedly called for the regulator to set much tougher targets for companies to reduce leakage, and we’re disappointed that more companies have not pledged to go beyond the regulator’s 15% challenge.”

On compulsory metering:

“Ideally we would like customers to have a choice but we support metering as long as it’s handled sensitively, as people recognise that it is the fairest way to pay for the water they use. Some customers – particularly larger households – may see their bills rise, so it’s critical for water companies to have the right amount of financial support already in place. We think it makes sense for metering to be phased to spread the cost for all customers.

“CCWater has developed a Water Meter Calculator to help customers understand what they may be charged if they have a meter installed.”

On the complaints process:

“There is definitely scope to improve the complaints process to make it a more seamless experience for consumers. Some complaints are too complex to resolve within 15 days but we are keen to reduce timescales and the number of steps customers face in getting their complaints resolved.

“It’s important to remember that compensation will not always address the problem customers want resolved, which often relies upon a water company taking practical action. Ultimately, companies should be aiming to get more things right first time.”

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