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Yorkshire Water failed customers in Goole – Ofwat and CCW research findings

Ofwat and CCW have yesterday told Yorkshire Water they must provide better customer service, after failing to provide adequate support to residents whose water supply was seriously affected over the course of a fortnight at the end of October 2023.

This comes on the back of research by Ofwat and CCW, looking into customers’ experience of how Yorkshire Water handled an incident in Goole, Yorkshire.

12,700 properties in Goole were affected by a burst water pipe between the 27 October and 13 November 2023. Customers experienced a mix of problems on and off over this period, which included low water pressure, murky and gritty water, or no water at all.

Residents described how they struggled to go about their daily lives, many were unable to bathe, do household chores, or turn their heating on during the start of the winter period.

Residents explained there was a lack of information and communication from Yorkshire Water about what was going on and how long it would last, and a failure to provide bottled water, with only 44 households receiving bottled supplies from Yorkshire Water. These shortcomings have been compounded by a lack of compensation.

Whilst Yorkshire Water has paid some customers compensation, four months on they are still unable to confirm whether other customers will receive anything. Ofwat and CCW have told Yorkshire Water to make payments due without further delay.

Lynn Parker, senior director for casework, enforcement, and customers at Ofwat yesterday said:

“Goole residents faced a huge disruption to their lives over the course of a fortnight as we approached winter. Yorkshire Water didn’t fully communicate to customers what was happening or why, they didn’t do enough to support customers to access bottled water and, on top of all of that, they have dragged their feet when it comes to customers getting compensation. Clearly this is not good enough. Ofwat and CCW will work together to make sure Yorkshire Water does better and customers do not suffer the same again.’’

Jenny Suggate, Interim Director of Policy, Research & Campaigns at CCW yesterday said:

“Our research clearly shows that the difficulties residents experienced during the incident were compounded by the lack of direct support and poor communication from Yorkshire Water. This made coping with the event even more challenging and suggests that the company did not consider the wellbeing of those affected a priority. In addition, we are very disappointed that four months on they have yet to address the issue of compensation for all of those affected. Customers deserve better. Yorkshire Water must now bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, and we will challenge the company to ensure this happens.”

Since the incident, Ofwat has gained new powers that it will use to drive improvements in water companies and customer service performance, including taking enforcement action which could result in significant fines.

Notes to Editors:

  • There were 661 households on the Priority Services Register, Yorkshire Water only provided water deliveries to 44 households.
  • Yorkshire Water did not use all communication channels they could have to communicate with customers.
  • Stories and case studies are available in the full report
  • No water stations were set up.
  • Compensation was not granted automatically to those entitled to it, appearing to contradict Yorkshire Water’s Customer Charter.

 

Channel website: http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/yorkshire-water-failed-customers-in-goole-ofwat-and-ccw-research-findings/

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