CCW has launched a bid to help the industry get to grips with billing complaints, which, it said: “continue to cause enormous frustration for thousands of household customers across England and Wales.”
In its guidance to water companies, Getting the measure of billing and debt complaints CCW addresses disputes over bills and debt recovery, which, it said, make up about half of the complaints made to water companies. It highlights examples of good and bad practice in case studies. Recommendations include building a stronger relationship with customers, taking more frequent meter readings and gaining a better understanding of each bill-payer’s individual circumstances.
Disputed reliability of metered bills was “the single biggest cause of complaint to CCW” the watchdog said, adding “many of these clashes could be avoided if water companies took the right proactive steps.” It claimed it had been “instrumental in helping the water industry reduce complaints by 70% since their peak in 2007-08, But, it said, there has been “a steady rise in the number of metered households disputing the accuracy of their bills” over the past four years.
CCW said it hoped its findings would “inspire companies to develop ideas and agree to take action” ahead of its industry-wide billing complaints workshop next month.