Posted by

Evan Joanette, CCWater market reform policy manager

07 Mar 2017

We have a statutory duty to help resolve customer complaints, and we’ve been doing that successfully since 2005. Our complaint handlers use their wealth of knowledge and experience to mediate on around 1,000 complaints from business customers each year – many of them small businesses.

This is the biggest shake-up in the water industry since it was privatised in 1989 and with around 1.2 million customers eligible to switch retailer or renegotiate with their existing provider for a better price or service, new issues are bound to arise. Around 20 companies have already been licensed by Ofwat, the industry regulator, to offer retail services such as billing, metering and customer service.

But rather than wait for problems, we’re working with each of the retailers , directing them on how to signpost customers our way and letting them know which practices have worked best over the past 10 years to drive down industry complaints.

We provide expert advice
Although the market hasn’t yet opened, our team has already been contacted by customers asking for advice on a range of issues. For example, we’ve received questions from customers asking whether they are eligible to access the market, and how and when they will be able to switch retailers. Some customers are concerned about whether prices will rise as a result of the changes and others, such as residential care homes, have asked for advice on whether or not they will be exempt from paying a commercial tariff.

In a market where price is not the only factor to take into account when deciding whether or not to switch retailer, the ability of a retailer to deal with problems and get their customer service right first time will be increasingly important.

At CCWater we will be monitoring the level and types of complaints we receive on a weekly basis and once a year we will report publicly on the performance of retailers so customers can see how they compare against each other.

We can help BCC members
We are here for your members; we’re fast and efficient in getting problems resolved – and we don’t charge for our services.

To find out how we can help your members with their water-related complaints and enquiries, visit our website at or email me at

Our customer contact telephone number is 0300 034 2222.

Evan Joanette, CCWater market reform policy manager.