Future price reviews must strengthen customers’ influence over every stage of the price setting process and beef up the incentives to improve customer service and reduce complaints.
Those are just two of the key findings to emerge from our assessment of the 2019 Price Review which has been published today.
We took a closer look at the extent to which PR19 resulted in outcomes that clearly reflected customers’ expectations and needs. The consumer watchdog also looked at how well the process had worked in terms of customer input and influence.
It concluded that the price review had delivered a broadly positive outcome for customers in England and Wales, with the prospect of bill reductions for many households alongside a package of investment to improve services and strengthen their overall resilience to climate change and population growth.
However, we believe there is still scope to bolster customers’ influence over the process and the outcomes it delivers. More clarity is also needed from water companies and Ofwat to show how customers’ views have been taken into account in decisions on prices, investment and service performance.
Some companies engaged very effectively with their customers to understand their needs and expectations and we would like to see the industry improve the way it shares these examples of good practice.
We have pledged to work with Ofwat and companies to ensure customers have an even greater influence and impact on future price reviews.