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Complaints to water companies fall


Complaints to water companies have largely fallen for their sixth year in a row, according to the water bill watchdog, Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).

The number of written complaints made by customers to water companies in England and Wales fell during 2013/14 by 18 per cent – more than twice the rate of decline seen the previous year. This means written complaints are now 45 per cent lower than when they peaked in 2007-08, and they are now at their lowest level since the watchdog was formed in 2005. Telephone calls made by customers to water companies to resolve problems have also continued to fall broadly in line with written complaints.

The highest proportion of complaints came from bills and charges, which accounted for 57% of all complaints. Four companies; South West Water, Affinity Water, Severn Trent Water and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, had an increase in complaints, and have now been challenged by CCWater to see why this has happened and what they plan on doing to improve. Wessex was the best performing water company, reducing complaints by 16%.

Tony Smith, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Most water companies have responded well to our challenge to improve performance, with complaints now at their lowest level since we were formed in 2005.
“But affordability remains a huge challenge for the industry with one in five customers telling us their water bill is not affordable. Water companies and the regulator Ofwat must deliver prices for the next five years that customers can afford and find acceptable or risk a backlash from struggling households.”

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