Energy firms outstrip water in value-for- money stakes says watchdog

The water industry must do more to prove it is offering value for money after a report by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) showed customers are now more satisfied with some other utilities, including energy.

The consumer watchdog’s latest annual Water Matters survey by the consumer watchdog shows about three-quarters of households in England and Wales say they get value for money from their water (73%) and sewerage (76%) services.

But according to CC Water’s findings Other utilities have already overtaken water in the value for money race. It found that 80% of gas and electricity customers consider their energy companies provide value for money and telephone landline providers score 79%.

CCWater’s chief executive, Tony Smith, said: “Value for money is not just about reducing bills. It’s about water companies sharing their financial successes with customers and showing them how their money is being used to provide an excellent service that meets their expectations.

“Water customers’ satisfaction with value for money has improved over the past decade but the industry cannot afford to be complacent,” he warned.

Responding to the CC Water research, a Water UK spokesman said: "Average household bills for water and sewerage are set to fall in real terms by 5% over the five years to 2020, and are about one third of the cost of domestic gas and electricity bills. Customer satisfaction ratings remain high, yet water companies continue to work hard to improve the overall quality of service which their customers receive.”

Some water companies have performed well compared to others in the sector over the past five years and are now leading the way on customer satisfaction with value for money.

CC Water reported that the water firms whose customer are out satisfied with the value for money they receive include: Northumbrian Water (84%), Dee Valley Water (80%), Yorkshire Water (79%), Severn Trent (78%), Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (78%) and Hartlepool Water (78%). It found also that significantly more households in Wales were satisfied with the value for money and quality of their water and sewerage services, compared to England.

The survey of more than 5,400 customers found that most bill payers were satisfied with their water supply (93%) and sewerage service (88%).