over water 
services in 
one year

Customers made more than 120,000 complaints to water firms in a year, a new report published today has revealed.

The total of 123,218 written complaints received by companies between April 1 2013 and March 31 this year is the equivalent of more than 300 every day.

More than half were about billing and charges matters, the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) said.

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However, the total complaints tally fell by 18 per cent compared to 2012/13.

It was the sixth successive year that the number decreased, and the rate of the fall was twice that seen in the previous year.

Telephone calls about problems also fell, the report said.

Water firms were warned the cost of bills faced by hard-pressed households was still a crucial factor despite improvements.

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.

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“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.”

Southern Water and South East Water were singled out for being the two worst performing companies.

Four companies – South West Water, Affinity Water, Severn Trent Water and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water – bucked the industry trend and reported an overall increase in complaints.

Wessex Water, Portsmouth Water and Cambridge Water were hailed as the industry’s best performers.