CCW: The Retail Water Market Must Do Better
The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) has called for improvements to be made in the retail water market to make life easier for customers around the country who are already facing serious challenges of running a business during a pandemic.
Figures from the organisation show that, during 2020/2021, written complaints from business customers to their water suppliers climbed by five per cent, with the watchdog handling three times more complaints than before the retail water market opened up back in April 2017.
Inaccurate bills and charging made up three-quarters of complaints to the CCW, with disputes also leading to 50 per cent more formal investigations into the most serious complaint-handling failures in comparison to domestic customers.
2020 began with the majority of businesses in lockdown because of the coronavirus crisis, with CCW working closely with retailers to ensure they reached out to customers to let them know what help and support was available.
The watchdog also pressed for strong protection against heavy-handed debt recovery and the type of poor service that could result in inaccurate estimated bills.
While some retailers handled the challenges well, CCW did see a rise in complaints from Castle Water customers, as businesses started to reopen last summer. Many complaints were related to not being able to get through to the retailer to resolve problems associated with debt recovery and estimated bills.
Chief executive of the CCW Emma Clancy said: “The retail water market promised to deliver better service standards for businesses but four years on and that is still not the experience for all customers.”
“About a third of business customers have told us they have been severely impacted by the pandemic and what they need are retailers and water companies that are actively seeking to help them – not making life even more difficult through inaccurate bills or unresponsive customer service.”
All eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations across England and Scotland are now able to choose who supplies their water and wastewater retail services.
Deregulation of the market has brought with it all sorts of advantages, including lower bills and charges, better value for money, improved standards of customer service, more access to help in becoming a more water-efficient business, cost reductions and services to improve operational efficiencies.
But it can be difficult to find a retailer that best suits the particular needs of your business, especially because the market is yet to mature. If you’ve been thinking about comparing business water suppliers but aren’t sure where to begin, get in touch with the SwitchWaterSupplier.com team today to see how we can help.
We can carry out a water audit of your site to see how and where you’re using water, which will then allow us to make a series of recommendations that will help you find the best retailer for you and your company.