OFWAT levels of service report
The publication of today's report represents excellent news for South West Water and our customers given that it places the company amongst the leading performers in the industry across a range of Customer Service performance rankings.
- Our performance against all eight of the leading indicators reported by Ofwat is adjudged by the regulator as being at least acceptable and in many cases above average - SWW was not adjudged to be below average/needing improvement on any of these indicators.
- The report also shows that SWW has made some of the biggest strides in improving performance over the last few years in comparison with the rest of the industry.
- SWW is pleased to note that the quality of information provided by the company on its service measures was consistently better than any other company, according to Ofwat's report.
- The reported performance goes a long way to showing why around 80% of customers surveyed by SWW * now say they are satisfied with the service the company is providing.
- We are very proud of the progress we have made in customer service - and we plan to make further improvements to match the enormous investment in modernised waste water treatment facilities and drinking water quality improvements.
- We have invested in people and training to improve the way we deal with customer contacts.
- SWW is providing industry-leading customer service in the following areas:
- SWW offers detailed guaranteed standards for the rare occasions where we don't provide top quality customer service that are well above and beyond the minimum set down for the industry.
- SWW was the first water companies to voluntarily stop disconnecting domestic customers for non-payment of bills.
- SWW's customer call centres can be reached by Freephone numbers and are open longer hours with more, better trained staff.
- SWW takes special needs customers very seriously, offering information in Braille, large print or on audio-tape and have compiled a special needs register in case of emergency situations.
- SWW has been praised by the local Ofwat Customer Service Committee for the general way with which we deal with complaint handling.
- SWW offers a large range of payment options.
- SWW as a responsible company commissions regular market research into our customers' perceptions of SWW and its performance.
OFWAT levels of service report
- Everyone at SWW is proud that the company's performance position in Ofwat's Levels of Service report has risen with the company now seventh in the overall 'league table'.
- This represents an improvement on the last report, and although we realise we have a way to go, we believe our improved position shows how seriously SWW takes customer service and just how much work is going on to improve our service.
- SWW has made good progress in areas where the company has been able to work towards significant improvements.
- SWW has faced a bigger environmental quality programme than any other water company because of its huge coastal sewage clean up commitment and the company has subsequently been constrained relative to other water and sewerage companies as this has impacted heavily on the level of the region's water bills.
- However, SWW is now in a position - having delivered much of its huge 'Clean Sweep' programme - to undertake an enhanced major programme of water mains modernisation work which will see a further 5,500 kilometres of mains improved over the next 10 years on top of the 1,500 kilometres of water mains that have already been replaced or relined in the region.
- This work should substantially improve the company's performance in terms of water pressure, burst mains and interruptions to water supply.
- SWW's performance on water pressure is better than average for the industry as a whole.
- SWW expects to perform significantly better in Ofwat's assessment of operational measures as further capital works, particularly on the clean water side of the business, are completed in the next five years.
Published: 27 July 2000
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Ofwat's customer service performance rankings include measures like: payments options; complaint handling; debt and disconnections; meters; special needs; information for customers; compensation; water supply pipe policy; call centre hours.
2. Ofwat's customer contact measures includes performance in: responding to billing queries; responding to written complaints; reading meters at least once a year; answering telephones promptly.
3. Other areas that Ofwat monitors are water supply restrictions, water pressure, sewer flooding.
Environmental impact - company performance table (14) - page 32:
SWW's figure of 10.9% of population served by sewage treatment works in breach of their consent is a statistical blip as the EA's monitoring coincided with a short period of time during which Countess Wear WWTW - which serves a significant part of Exeter - was undergoing temporary difficulties in achieving compliance - i.e. in the month of December 1999.
Non-compliant bathing waters - table 14:
Around half of the 11% figure for non-compliant bathing waters recorded in the report were not caused by SWW public sewage discharge failures - i.e. they were caused by a variety of other factors such as private sewage discharges and agricultural run-off. Where failures were due to SWW discharges, they were generally in locations where the company is progressing or planning to progress with its ongoing 'Clean Sweep' programme.
Category 1 and 2 pollution incidents, table 14:
SWW has no Category 1 (serious) incidents of pollution and overall one of the lowest figures for Category 2 (not so serious) incidents.