Water Plus improves in watchdog's first-quarter business complaints


The Consumer Council for Water (CC Water) handled 931 complaints from businesses in the first quarter of 2019/20 (1 April - 30 June), down from 1073 in Q4 2018-19 but up on the 769 complaints handled in Q1 2018-19. 672 of this quarter’s complaints related to billing and charges. Other areas of contention concerned account inaccuracies and leakage allowances.

The watchdog said: “A small number of poor performing retailers continue to cause customers the biggest concern. These include two of last year’s worst performers – Clear Business Water and Everflow – with SES Business Water completing the bottom three based on complaints made to CC Water from April 2019 to the end of June 2019. Their performance was in stark contrast to Yorkshire Water Business, Water2Business and Affinity for Business who topped the rankings with the lowest levels of complaints among the larger retailers.”

CC Water also reported positive news from Water Plus, last year’s worst performer. Complaints to CCW about Water Plus fell 16% in Q1 2019/20 compared with the previous quarter, though it remained above the industry average. Water Plus chief executive, Andy Hughes (pictured), said it too had been receiving fewer complaints and that its investments, which included increasing the number of people in its customer contact centre, were making “a substantial difference”.

Hughes explained: “Following the significant investments we made in 2018, we’ve seen written complaints to us drop by 36% in the first quarter of this financial year (19/20), compared to the same time the previous year. We’ve also seen our number of complaints fall significantly from Q4 in the last financial year to Q1 for 19/20. This reduction in complaints has also continued in Q2 for July and August this year, compared to last year, which shows we’re improving and helping more customers.”

Hughes added: “We’re not standing still – as one complaint is one too many – and we’re continuing to drive these down further through our focused improvement programme and the combined efforts of all our people.”