Service incentive mechanism 2015-16

Our annual service incentive mechanism (SIM) measures customer service. It formed part in the 2014 final determinations for all companies, and companies can get financial rewards and penalties depending on how well they score.

We introduced the SIM as a tool to encourage companies to improve their customers’ experience of interacting with them, reduce customer complaints, and get things right first time. Each company’s customer service performance is assessed each year, and includes a measurement of the number of complaints they receive as well as the results from the customer satisfaction surveys.

Overall service incentive mechanism scores 2015-16

The average SIM score across the sector rose from 81.6 out of 100 to 82.5. Portsmouth Water topped the table this year, up from 8th last year. Portsmouth Water’s score of 90 is the highest ever achieved by any company since the SIM began in 2010. Wessex Water is once again the highest performing water and sewerage company. Its score of 87 this year and last has earned it second place both times. Southern Water is bottom of the table this year.

We are pleased to see an increase in companies’ average scores for customer service. But even the best performing companies cannot afford to rest on their laurels. We know that customers increasingly expect water companies to offer the same range and level of service that they find in other sectors.

Company Overall 2015-16 SIM score
Portsmouth 90
Wessex 87
South Staffordshire 86
Bournemouth 86
Bristol 85
Anglian 85
Severn Trent 84
Northumbrian 84
Dee Valley 83
Dwr Cymru 83
Yorkshire 83
South East 82
United Utilities 82
Sutton and East Surrey 81
South West 79
Thames 77
Affinity 77
Southern 73
Average 82.5

Customer satisfaction 2015-16 results

The survey report shows the results of four customer satisfaction surveys conducted across 2015-16. The survey asks customers how satisfied they are with their water company’s handling of queries and resolving issues. We use an independent company to conduct the customer surveys.

These results show a positive trend, with average customer satisfaction rising to 4.33 out of 5, up from 4.24 last year.

Overall, customers of Portsmouth Water said they were most satisfied – for the second year running. Southern Water came last in the satisfaction rankings.


Customers said better communication and a quicker response from water companies were the key issues that would make them even more satisfied.

Download the full report on the 2015-16 service incentive mechanism.

Numbers of complaints 2015-16

Companies report the number of complaints they receive to the Consumer Council for Water.

Download Complaints to water companies England and Wales April 2015 to March 2016 from the Consumer Council for Water

The report shows that some companies are doing better than others at reducing the number of complaints they receive. We expect good customer service from all companies, both in reducing complaints and in increasing customer satisfaction, and so our service incentive mechanism rewards companies who provide good customer service, and penalises those that don’t.