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Bad Water Supplier 2006-09-16

Posted by clype in Money, Scotland, Statistics.
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‘Scottish Water’s’ service to its customers is still worse than the poorest-performing water company in England & Wales, the industry regulator said 2006-09-15.

Although ‘Scottish Water’ has narrowed the gap, the ‘watchdog’ found the company was still lagging 39 per cent behind the worst supplier ‘south of the border’.

This underlined the need to allow new operators to enter the market in Scotland, the report from ‘The Water Industry Commission for Scotland’ said.

‘Scottish Water’ managed to improve its drinking-water quality, its unplanned supply interruptions and its response to written complaints and billing inquiries. However, sewer flooding had increased and customer-service response by phone had deteriorated.

The report described the response to customers who complained of suffering low water pressure as ‘poor’.

The findings, contained in a report on customer service, is the first of a series of detailed reports on ‘Scottish Water’ to be published over the next two months.

The regulator identified concerns over the quality of ‘Scottish Water’s’ management information, which may be less reliable or less accurate than the information provided to ‘Ofwat’ by companies in the country of England & Wales.

The commission said ‘Scottish Water’ improved its customer service by 33 per cent between 2002/2005. But this fell to 7 per cent between 2005/2006, to give an overall improvement of 24 per cent over a period in which services also improved in England & Wales.

‘”Scottish Water” has narrowed the gap but it still lagged the poorest performing company “south of the border” by 39 per cent in 2004-5 (47 per cent in 2002/2003),’ the report said. But it added:

‘The efforts “Scottish Water” has made to improve the service it provides to customers should be recognised.’


The Chairman of the Commission Sir Ian Byatt,
said:

‘This underlines the need to allow new retail providers to enter the market to provide business in Scotland with the quality of service that it deserves.’

The commission said it expected new retail licensing arrangements to play an important role in ‘focusing the industry on improving its service to customers’.

A spokesman for ‘Scottish Water’ said much of the criticism related to ageing infrastructure inherited from the three former Scottish water suppliers. She added:

‘In three years, we have done an enormous amount to improve our infrastructure.

‘Some of the infrastructure we inherited has had no investment since Victorian times.

‘We recognise we still lag behind England & Wales, but they have had 14 years to do what they have had to do — we have had three years.’


The latest criticism follows a report in 2006-03in which ‘Scottish Water’ was condemned as the worst water company in Britain. It was criticised for being inefficient, charging higher prices and providing a poorer service than firms ‘down south’.

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