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Southern Water most complained about company - CCW report

Southern Water has been named the most complained about company for a third successive year in the Consumer Council for Water's (CCW) latest annual report despite seeing a 12.8% drop in the number of written and telephone complaints. The company recorded the highest number of complaints of any of the water companies with 70.4 per 10,000 connections, more than double the industry average of 34.2.

The CCW customer complaints report said: “Southern has repeatedly pledged to improve its performance but it needs to accelerate its improvement programme to move into line with the rest of the industry.”

Southern Water director Simon Oates said he was disappointed with the progress and admitted “we clearly have more to do”. He added the company has invested £13M in a billing system upgrade and that “once this system has bedded in, we expect that we will see complaint numbers start to fall”.

The only other companies with above average complaints were South West Water (which saw numbers fall by 9.9%), Anglian Water (up 0.6%), and South East Water (down 44.5%).

Anglian Water said its marginal increase was due to the fact it passed details of customers failing to pay to credit rating agency Experian, adding this “may have resulted in a fractional increase in customer complaints”.

At the other end of the table, Cambridge Water, which is part of South Staffs Water, has the least number of complaint after recording a 16.2% drop down to just 10.3 per 10,000. This saw Cambridge Water replace Portsmouth Water as the industry leader, after Portsmouth saw the number the number of complaints it received jump by 43.6%, up to 10.8 per 10,000.

The leading water and sewage company was Wessex Water for the fifth year running, with complaints down 4.5% to 16.2% per 10,000 connections.

CCW chief executive Tony Smith said: “We expect the water industry to continually try and improve its services to customers and many water companies deserve credit for rising to that challenge year after year. However the gulf between the best and worst performers remains unacceptable.”


A version of this story first appeared on Utility Week.

Topic: Policy & Regulation
Tags: water companies , customer service

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