CCW recommends shake up of customer involvement in price reviews for PR24

More centralised customer research, a more user friendly process and a review of whether Customer Challenge Groups (CCGs) are necessary were among the recommendations published last week by CCW for Ofwat to adopt at PR24 to improve future price reviews for customers.

The customer watchdog said PR19 had delivered a broadly positive outcome for customers, with a reduction in bills for many and investment to achieve greater resilience and service improvements in 2020-25 and beyond. But it put forward among the following recommendations for improvements:

• customer engagement – more research should be conducted centrally to allow for comparability; good practice customer engagement techniques should be shared; research should be inclusive and materials easy to understand;

• price review methodology – the process should be simplified with,

Ofwat and companies directed to show how customer evidence has influenced decisions,

the use of Outcome Delivery Incentives reviewed,

performance for customers made a factor in fast tracking, and

business plans should be set in the context of longer term strategy; and

• customer representation – further consideration should be given to whether CCGs are needed in future price setting.

CCW said it will publish discussion papers later this year and next covering the most material changes it wants to see. These will include papers on improving customer representation though the process; the overall customer research framework for PR24; an incentive model that may get greater support from customers; and fast tracking incentives that factor in performance for customers.