Energy companies are no longer the most maligned British utility, a new report suggests.
Now it's the water industry that consumers think is slipping down the drain compared with other utilities in terms of value for money.
An annual report by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) found about three-quarters of households in England and Wales were satisfied they got value for money from their water and sewerage services compared with 80 per cent for gas and electricity utilities and 79 per cent for telephone landline providers.
“Water customers’ satisfaction with value for money has improved over the past decade but the industry cannot afford to be complacent," said Tony Smith, CCWater’s chief executive.
“Value for money is not just about reducing bills. It’s about water companies sharing their financial successes with customers and showing them how their money is being used to provide an excellent service that meets their expectations.”
Last week, Thames Water was slapped with a £8.55m fine over its failure to meet commitments to reduce leakages, and industry watchdog Ofwat said this penalty would not be passed onto customers. This followed a record £20m fine for polluting the River Thames in March.
The report found significantly more houses in Wales were satisfied than those in England. The best-performing water companies were Northumbrian Water (84 per cent customer satisfaction), Dee Valley Water (80 per cent) and Yorkshire Water (79 per cent).
Severn Trent, the UK's biggest listed water firm, followed behind with 78 per cent customer satisfaction. Customers with Severn Trent enjoyed the lowest combined average bills in Britain of £341 a year.