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Watchdog tells water firms: show customers what their money buys
Water companies must do more to convince customers they are getting value for money. That is the conclusion of the Consumer Council for Water's latest tracking survey.
The watchdog found that while nine out of ten customers were satisfied with the standard of service provided, a significantly smaller proportion was satisfied with the value for money.
Across England and Wales, 72 per cent of bill payers polled were happy with the value for money of their water service and 73 per cent said the same in relation to sewerage. Satisfaction with the service ran at 92 per cent and 89 per cent respectively.
CCWater chief executive Tony Smith said: "Customers' views reflect the continuing price increases and water companies' lack of communication about what they are doing with the extra money they are getting from customers.
"CCWater will be pushing water companies, particularly the poor performers, to improve their communication with their customers and show an improved trend on customer satisfaction with value for money. We will also be pressing for water regulation to incentivise water companies to improve this vital measure of success for the industry."
Bottom of the rankings by some margin was South West Water, with just 35 per cent of customers content with value for their water bill and 39 per cent for sewerage.
CCWater said this was unsurprising as historically those customers have had the highest bills in the country. A relatively small population has borne the costs of cleaning up a long stretch of coastline comprising some of the UK's most popular beaches.
The government's recent announcement it would subsidise each water bill to the tune of £50 a year "may go some way to addressing this", CCWater continued.
Northumbrian Water, Yorkshire Water and Portsmouth Water topped the tables with percentage scores in the low 80s.
The figures were based on phone interviews undertaken in December 2011 with 4,029 bill payers spread across water company regions in England and Wales.
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Source: Utility Week
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