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  • by Karma Loveday

Ofwat issues new guidelines to help customers struggling to pay

Ofwat has called on water companies to step up the help they offer to customers with payment difficulties.

In new guidelines for water companies to help household customers across England and Wales pay bills, get help and repay debts, the regulator told companies to:

• offer more flexible payment options for customers on irregular incomes and zero hours contracts;

• talk sensitively with customers struggling to pay to understand their circumstances and resolve problems without needing to take debt recovery action;

• use more complaints, research and other customer feedback to make real time improvements to payment, help and debt services; and

• make full use of data to find those customers who are struggling and offer them support.

The guidelines also cover other areas such as bereavement support, customer rights and debt recovery. The publication followed a number of pieces of research.

Alongside the updated guidelines, Ofwat said it is also bringing forward plans to develop a new customer-focused licence condition to increase companies' customer focus and incentivise the very best service for customers.


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