Surge in business customer complaints mostly down to failing few says CC Water

A “small number” of poor-performing water retail companies have generated a surge in complaints from businesses to the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) in the first year of business retail competition in England according to the watchdog.

CC Water has reported a tripling of complaints to 2782 in 2017-18 compared to 824 in the previous year. Enquiries to the watchdog too have risen at a similar rate from 398 to 1352.

Complaints in the final quarter of 2017-18 alone reached 972 - a slowing of the rate in earlier quarters.

CC Water said the rise in complaints was “not a reflection on all suppliers, many of which had delivered a good service and avoided most of the problems encountered by their poor performing competitors.”

CC Water’s deputy chief executive, Phil Marshall, said most of the complaints were about matters that the laggards could put right: “If the poor performers get their act together we should see a significant improvement over the next 12 months and that’s what we are pushing for.”

CC Water believed wholesalers have an important role to play in helping retailers to resolve some issues. It said it will name the best and worst performing retailers for a report scheduled publication June.