120,000 compaints to water companies in a year

tapwater The collective 'we' made over 120,000 complaints to water firms in a year, according to a new report.

Between April 1st 2013 and March 31st 2014, water companies received a total of 123,218 written complaints and you can only imagine how many phone calls were made on top of that.

According to the Consumer Council for Water (or CCWater for lazy typists), over half of the gripes concerned billing and charges. Remarkably, these figures are dropping from previous years.

Tony Smith, chief executive of CCWater, said: "Most water companies have responded well to our challenge to improve performance, with complaints now at their lowest level since we were formed in 2005; but affordability remains a huge challenge for the industry, with one in five customers telling us their water bill is not affordable."

"Water companies and the regulator Ofwat must deliver prices for the next five years that customers can afford and find acceptable or risk a backlash from struggling households."

The two companies performing the worst are Southern Water and South East Water and the report said: 'We have repeatedly told them that they need to bring themselves into line with the rest of the industry, but they continue to lag significantly behind.'

The best? Well done to Wessex Water, Portsmouth Water and Cambridge Water.

Steve George, customer services director at South East Water, said: 'We are pleased to see the downward trend continue during 2014 but we recognise that there is still more to do. Over the past year we have been working hard to integrate the new communications technologies into customer service. Not only has this new instant approach been welcomed by our customers, our own staff have enthusiastically embraced each development as it has come on board."

Darren Bentham, Southern Water's chief customer officer, said: 'While our performance in 2013/14 saw a big improvement, we are still lower down the results table than we want to be - and where our customers want us to be."

"However, we are continuing to make changes which ensure we focus on our customers - from training, to new systems and an improved website. These changes are making a huge difference as proved by a significant reduction in written complaints over the past 18 months. Our customers have told us they expect better service and we have promised to bring more improvements. There is still work to do but we're confident we can deliver our promise, while ensuring bills are affordable for all."

In other news: bears continue to defecate in woodland areas.

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