Water companies ranked by complaint levelsComplaints drop, but numbers still too high

20 September 2011

Water coming out of a tap

United Utilities was the most complained about water and sewerage company during the past year, according to a report by the Consumer Council for Water.

Overall, complaints about water companies in England and Wales fell by 4.5% during the past year. There were 185,140 complaints in total - an average of 61 per 10,000 households.

Water and sewerage bills in England and Wales went up by 4.6% in April, to an average of £356 per household. About two-thirds of complaints to the Consumer Council were related to billing and charges. 

Read our advice on how to complain to companies. 

Water complaints still high

United Utilities, which serves the north west of England, handled almost twice as many complaints per household than the average, according to the report. Overall 39,004 complaints were logged, up 6.7% on last year.

South East Water was the worst performing water company. Although it recorded 9.6% fewer complaints compared to last year, it had significantly more per customer than other suppliers - handling 8,232 overall.

Topping the league for the biggest drop in complaints was Bristol Water, which reported a 41.6% decrease in the past year. Wessex Water, which had the lowest number of complaints per customer of all water and sewerage companies, reported a drop of 39.3%.

Complaints rose the most (up 23%) at Yorkshire Water but overall it was the second best performing water and sewerage company, based on complaints per customer.

How to complain

Which? deputy home editor Natalie Hitchins says: 'It's good news that overall complaints are down, but the number recorded is still too high and it is disappointing that there was an increase at seven of the 23 companies responsible for water and sewerage in England and Wales.

'We urge consumers to speak out against poor customer service. Complaints should be reported to the supplier in the first instance, then taken to the Consumer Council for Water if a suitable resolution can't be found.'

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