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Sarah Rice

Sarah is our insurance specialist, reporting the latest important developments in the industry.

Water complaints reduce after three years of disappointment

Customer complaints to water companies in England and Wales have decreased in the last year, but a 100% satisfactory service is still far from being a reality.

Latest research reveals that customer complaints to water companies in England and Wales have decreased in the last year, but a 100% satisfactory service is still far from being a reality.

According to figures in the report ‘Complaint Handling in the Water Industry in England and Wales', overall industry complaints dropped by 4.5% year-on-year in the period 2010-11.

This is good news considering the pressure on poor performing companies that the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) put on most of water providers after three years of poor client satisfaction results.

The CCWater said that although these are positive results, some companies still have a long way to go.

Results and water suppliers

United Utilities was the worst performing water and sewerage company. It handed 39,000 complaints and its disappointing rate increased by 6.7% compared to previous period 2009/10.

The report also pointed out the 8,000 complaints of South East Water and said that, despite their disappointing figures went down by 9.6%, it still remained the worst performing water-only company. South West Water also reduced its negative feedback but still received more than the industry's average number of complaints.

Regarding good results, Southern Water reduced their figures by 19.1% to the previous year and Yorkshire Water also received very low numbers of complaints per customer served overall.

In Wales, Dee Valley Water's complaints increase was of 24.6%, much less than in the previous period with 44%. Dwr Cymru Welsh Water worked to reduce its complaint numbers by 17.1%, but it still remains one of the poorer performing companies, reveals the report.

Best decreased complaint results were for Wessex Water (-39.3), Veolia Water East (-20.4) and Northumbrian Water (-6.8).

"We will continue to exert pressure on those companies who are underperforming until they match the best. CCWater is there to help water customers who have hit a brick wall with their complaint,” said Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water.

Considering this information, it is important to compare water utilities providers in order to contract the best service.