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Map reveals Britain’s ‘worst’ water suppliers where complaints soar | UK | News

Map reveals Britain’s 'worst' water suppliers where complaints soar | UK | News

The cost of living crisis has seen Brits the length and breadth of the country struggle to cope with spiking bills. Everything from groceries to energy have soared in price – and water bills haven’t been immune.

But despite charges ratcheting up, customer satisfaction has been plummeting. Now a new map has revealed the “worst” offenders when it comes to keeping their customers happy.

In February this year Ofwat announced that water companies can receive fines of up to 10 percent of their turnover for poor customer service following their recent report that there was a fall in customer satisfaction across most companies from 2021-2022 to 2022-2023.

In light of this, experts at Showers to You took a deep dive into which companies are receiving the most complaints and who would come out as the worst offender.

Data on the number of complaints, Trustpilot reviews, average bills for 2024 and overall satisfaction of the water services was collated to provide an overall “satisfaction score” out of 100.

Troubled Thames Water – which has hit the headlines as it battles to survive amid a funding crisis – came out as the worst offender for bad customer service.

Other southern water companies rounded off the top three with South West Water and Southern Water rounding out the top three.

Martin Smith, the founder of Showers to You, said: “Although it is concerning to see many of the water companies scoring low for their complaints and customer service, with the recent news that Ofwat has now brought in a new power to enforce fines on the companies when it is providing poor customer service we should hopefully see improvement in this area.”

The worst water companies for customer service

Data includes: Total complaints per 10,000 households (2023), Complaint handling metric*, Trustpilot Reviews, Average 6 month bill for 2024 before inflation (£), Customer Satisfaction, Score/100

* Complaint handling metric – The complaint handling metric ranges between 1 (Poor) to 4 (Good). It is based on the CCW’s (Consumer Council for Water) information on complaints that are not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction by companies and those that customers bring to CCW for resolution.

  1. Thames Water, 127.72, 1, 1.5, 365, 80%, 18

  2. South West Water, 76.1, 2, 1.8, 430, 90%, 29

  3. Southern Water, 227.52, 2, 1.6, 348, 83%, 30

  4. South East Water, 57.19, 1, 1.5, 192, 82%, 32

  5. Anglian Water, 42.93, 2, 2.3, 382, 81%, 35

  6. Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. 49.88, 2, 2.3, 408, 93%, 39

  7. Yorkshire Water, 102.81, 3, 1.9, 357, 92%, 45

  8. United Utilities, 51.03, 3, 4, 377, 91%, 50

  9. Severn Trent Water, 31.85, 1, 4.6, 318, 88%, 53

  10. Cambridge Water, 39.72, 1, 2, 150, 86%, 53

Express.co.uk has approached Thames Water, South West Water and Southern Water for comment.

Meanwhile, Ofwat is said to be creating a “recovery regime” for Thames Water and other firms which face collapse or restructuring because of high debt.

The companies could face fewer or no fines for water outages and sewage leaks and instead be encouraged to invest in infrastructure, under proposals reportedly being considered. But the plan has been met with anger from clean water campaigners.

Charles Watson, founder and chair of River Action, said: “The idea that Ofwat would slash the fines water companies pay whilst they continue to systematically break the law by illegally polluting our rivers, lakes and seas is just beyond outrageous.”

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