Written Complaints To Water Firms Reach The Highest Level In 5 Yrs
Complaints in writing to water companies around the UK climbed by 11 per cent between 2020 and 2021, compared to the previous year, reaching their highest level in five years.
This is according to new research from the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), revealing that Thames Water emerged as the worst culprit in this regard, responsible for over two in every five complaints received by the industry as a whole.
As a result, the company has now made a series of commitments to the watchdog, setting out how it intends to improve its performance, which includes reducing complaints by a quarter in 2021.
Other utility companies that CCW will be keeping a close eye on include Southern Water and Essex and Suffolk Water, both of which were marked ‘poor’ for written complaints and complaint handling. Both firms have now made similar commitments to improve their service.
Problems with billing was the biggest issue facing the industry, making up 67 per cent of all complaints received, with the majority of firms reporting an increase in this category.
CCW has already provided water companies with best practice guidance on how to reduce such disputes, including steps such as getting in touch with customers before they’re hit with higher than usual bills, so they can better understand why water usage might have increased.
Chief executive of CCW Emma Clancy said: “We’re heading into a difficult winter for many struggling households as they deal with rising energy costs and other financial pressures so companies must not allow water bills to add to customers’ worries.
“Households have a right to expect clear and accurate bills but water companies also need to improve their communication and do more to understand their customers’ needs. That way they can ensure customers facing hardship gain quicker access to the support that exists but often goes untapped.”
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