Complaints from businesses fall but water market remains hampered by poorer performers
Complaints from business customers about their water supplier have fallen but the gap between the best and worst performers continues to widen.
It is positive that fewer business customers are having to escalate their complaints to CCW. However, the independent voice for water consumers has warned that too many businesses are still having to complain about the retail service they receive. It has called on poorer performing water retailers to learn from the complaint handling of those receiving the lowest written complaints and match the performance of Hafren Dyfrdwy, First Business Water, Water2Business and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.
Annual figures show that written complaints from business customers to their retailer fell by 2% in 2021/22. There was also strong evidence of more businesses receiving a swifter resolution to their problem with 19% fewer complaints having to be escalated to CCW.
Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of CCW, said:
“The water market in England promised to deliver higher standards of service but too many business customers are still experiencing problems. Businesses deserve a good service from their water retailer and while it is encouraging to see a further improvement in this area, written complaints are only one indicator of a customer’s overall experience of their retailer, and the market. With satisfaction, and willingness to engage, remaining low for most customers in England, it is clear that the fundamental problems in the market are far from resolved.”
Our work with retailers to tackle the biggest cause of complaints – billing and charges – has started to bear fruit with the overall number falling by a quarter during the year.
But there remain stark differences in the performance of individual retailers with Water Plus, SES Business Water, Clear Business Water and Castle Water generating the most concerns among their customers. In contrast, there are many smaller retailers who haven’t generated any complaints at all.
Although there are encouraging signs, particularly improvements to complaint handling, performance across the industry still has some way to go to reach the levels seen prior to the introduction of the retail market in 2017. Complaints to retailers remain 22% above those direct complaints about retail service prior to the market opening. Complaints from customers about their retailer to CCW also remain almost three times greater than the pre-market level of 2016/17.
In Wales, where the option of switching only applies to businesses using very large volumes of water, both companies – Hafren Dyfrdwy and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water – continue to deliver better complaint performance to business customers than the majority of the retail market in England.
We continue to work closely with retailers and Ofwat to drive improvement across the market. The consumer body is set to publish a report assessing how the first five years of the market have delivered for business customers in March 2023.
Read the full Business Customer Complaints report (pdf)
Latest News from
Household customer complaints report published23/09/2022 15:38:00
Our annual report examining and comparing the performance of water companies in England and Wales for household customer written complaints has been published.
Busting 6 myths about hosepipe bans18/08/2022 15:20:00
With hosepipe bans taking effect in some parts of England and Wales, our senior director Mike Keil dispels some of the more common myths surrounding the use of these restrictions.
Changing habits for a changing climate – coping better when things get hot08/08/2022 16:20:00
Literally hot topics at the moment are droughts and heatwaves. But what are they and what do they mean for us?
Renewed urgency needed to bolster financial support for struggling water customers27/07/2022 13:10:00
Efforts to end the postcode lottery of support for households struggling to afford their water bill must succeed amid growing pressure on customers’ finances.
How to keep your garden healthy in the heat21/07/2022 12:20:00
Our gardens are special to so many of us, whether they are a place of relaxation or a place to potter, prune, and plant. However, given the current weather, it’s worth considering how to avoid exhaustion while best serving your garden.
CCW responds to the Environment Agency’s Environmental Performance Assessment18/07/2022 12:20:00
The Environment Agency recently (14 July 2022) released its annual report on the environmental performance of England’s nine water and sewerage companies.
Water sector moves closer to easing water bill worries for millions of households08/07/2022 12:20:00
Long-term relief for millions of households that struggle to afford their water bill is within the water sector’s grasp if it continues to unite behind efforts to strengthen support for customers.
CCW statement on South West Water enforcement case28/06/2022 16:20:00
CCW has warned of a betrayal of customers’ trust after South West Water joined a list of six sewerage companies facing the threat of enforcement action over their management of wastewater treatment plants.