We use a wide variety of other information to assess risks to customers – and decide whether we need to take action on your behalf. This is part of our approach for holding water companies to account.

Below we highlight the overall performance of the monopoly water and sewerage and water only companies in England and Wales in 2013-14 – and any action we are taking to protect customers’ interests.

Customer indicators

In 2013-14, the companies scored an average of 82 out of 100 for customer service. This ranged from 89 (South Staffs Water) to 71 (Thames Water). In 2012-13 the average score was 77 – ranging from 88 to 62.

Each company’s customer service score is based on the number of customer enquiries and complaints they receive (‘customer contacts’) – and how satisfied customers were with the way the company dealt with them.

The number of written complaints that the companies received fell by more than 27,000 last year. This was the sixth year in a row that complaints had fallen.

Customer satisfaction with the overall manner in which the companies handled their concerns was high. We asked 15,000 customers to give us their view of how well their company did on a scale of 1 to 5 (where 5 indicates they were ‘very satisfied’).

The average result for all the companies in 2013-14 was 4.48. ln 2012-13 the average result was 4.44.

The number of properties flooded from overflowing sewers decreased (from 3,838 in 2012-13 to 2,190 in 2013-14). Sewer flooding is an unpleasant occurrence and companies have explained what they doing to reduce the number of properties it affects. For example looking at their response times and the success of education schemes to keep sewers free of debris like cooking fat.

Did you know that water companies must maintain certain basic guaranteed standards of service (GSS)? If they do not, affected customers must receive a payment. Find out more about your services and the standards you should expect.

Action we are taking

Customer contacts and satisfaction form part of our service incentive mechanism (SIM). The SIM is one of the ways in which we encourage the companies to improve their performance. Although all companies’ performance was satisfactory in 2013-14, we take account of their performance when we decide the prices that all companies can charge their customers during each of the five years between 2015-20. The poorest performers during 2010-15 will be penalised and the best rewarded. You can find out how the SIM works by reading our SIM factsheet. Our draft decisions about 2015-20 prices include our proposed SIM performance-related rewards and penalties.

Customers were generally satisfied with the service they received in 2013-14. This does not mean that services were perfect, but where service failures have occurred companies have explained how they have (or will) put things right for their customers.

Although sewer flooding decreased, companies are still taking action to further improve their performance. We will be watching to see that companies continue to maintain and operate sewers to keep the risk of sewer flooding as low as possible.


We have collated below the performance data companies have published.


SIM Score Internal sewer flooding incidents Water supply interruptions – hours per total properties served
Anglian 87 116 0.33
Dŵr Cymru 84 82 0.84
Northumbrian 85 351 0.08
Northumbrian (Essex and Suffolk)
Severn Trent 82 204 0.26
South West 74 62 0.25
Southern 75 313 0.18
Thames 71 471 0.20
United Utilities 83 451 0.17
Wessex 87 64 0.40
Yorkshire 82 76 0.17
Affinity Water 79 0.38
 – Central area
 – East area
 – Southeast area
Bristol 85 0.39
Dee Valley 80 0.15
Portsmouth 83 0.09
Sembcorp Bournemouth 87 0.03
South East 75 0.27
South Staffs (Cambridge) 86 0.15
South Staffs 89 0.15
Sutton & East Surrey 83 0.22

Green means the company’s performance is in line with or better than expected
Amber means the company’s performance is not in line with expectations but performance has slipped only slightly
Red means the company’s performance is significantly below target or expectation
Blue means companies did not have to submit this data
White means companies did not report a red, amber or green status