Ofwat has today published the leaderboard for customer satisfaction and experience for water and wastewater companies for 2021-22.
The leaderboard is ranked by the customer measure of experience (C-MeX) which looks at household customers’ experience of, and satisfaction with, their water company, while another leaderboard shows the experience for developer services customers (D-MeX). The results for household customers show that only South Staffs Water improved on its score for the previous year.
All other water and wastewater companies serving household customers saw a drop in their C-MeX scores. While overall performance remains better than 2019-2020, the results are a cause for concern and all companies should be taking steps to improve immediately, learning from other sectors to resolve customer issues quickly and accurately. In addition, the water and wastewater sectors need to redouble efforts to compete with the highest performing sectors on customer service.
Wessex Water, Northumbrian Water and Portsmouth Water remain top of the leaderboard for customer satisfaction and experience, despite all experiencing drops in their C-MeX score. Thames Water and Southern Water are again at the bottom of the table and will incur significant underperformance payments.
The top performers on D-MeX for their developer customers were Hafren Dyfrdwy, Severn Trent Water and Portsmouth Water, with Yorkshire Water, SES Water and Southern Water at the bottom.
Earlier this year, Ofwat published its draft methodology for PR24 which included a proposal to strengthen incentives for improving customer service. Ofwat also announced plans to introduce a customer-focused condition in all companies’ licences. This would strengthen the regulator’s powers to ensure major failings for customers can be addressed through enforcement action.
David Black, Ofwat CEO, said:
“It’s vital that companies focus on their customers and improve the service they receive, and we remain focused on ensuring their performance gets better. I am concerned to see that customer service levels have dipped across the sector. This is not good enough and we expect companies to take action to address this. Those at the bottom of the leaderboard will pay back significant amounts to customers to reflect their poor service.”
Notes to editors:
Ofwat regularly publishes research into the impact of poor service on household customers. For example, research by Ofwat and CCW released earlier this year found that sewer flooding has a significant negative impact on customers, regardless of the severity of the incident. Despite providing a good service initially, wastewater companies are falling short when it comes to longer term communication, resolution and compensation. More information is available here.
The financial payments for C-MeX and D-MeX will be announced within the draft in-period determinations which are due to be published in the coming weeks.