CC Water airs plans for monthly data on business retail complaints

The Consumer Council for Water is consulting with water retailers and other stakeholders on its plans to extend its complaints monitoring to collect monthly data from business water suppliers. CC Water’s proposal is to monitor new non-household (NHH) retail market players, looking only at complaints data and “to identify and discuss any concerns with retailers.”

The watchdog defended its preference for monthly data because it believes stakeholder scrutiny in the early days of the NHH market will be intense. “At the outset, interest in the operation of the new NHH retail market will be high, especially from government, regulators, and consumer groups.” it added: “Monthly submission of complaint data will allow us to get a picture of how retailers are operating and help to identify any problems quickly. We do not feel that quarterly data collection would give us this visibility.

CC Water said it would review the scope and frequency of the data collection “towards the end of the financial year with a view to moving to quarterly data collection

CC Water emphasised that the scope of the data it will require of non-household water retailers will be significantly narrower than that asked of water and sewerage companies where three of the five complaint categories address wholesale matters. CC Water said it would require non-household retailers to provide: • its number of customers served; • its total number of written complaints received; • the number of written complaints deemed to be caused by a wholesaler service failure; and • the total number of unwanted contacts received from customers.

The watchdog said data on complaints related to wholesale activities, was needed because “we believe it is important to identify where potential problems are originating, if not from retailers’ service provision.”

The consultation closes on 24 March 2017.