Scottish Water needs to do more to promote its guarantees on customers rights – watchdog
Households in Scotland are in the dark about guarantees Scottish Water has put in place on a range of services for customers.
A new report by the water watchdog has found 90% of water customers do not know what they are entitled to when it comes to problems such as being left with no water or engineers missing appointments.
90% of households also aren’t aware that Scottish Water will pay cash back on water bills when it fails to meet its own service standards.
When asked what they could expect in certain circumstances, on average, two-thirds of households indicated that they did not know how much advance warning is due for planned interruptions to water supply, how much time Scottish Water has to restore water supplies or how long it should take to get the results back from a low water pressure investigation – all of which means at least a £20 payment is promised to the customer if Scottish Water doesn’t meet the standards they say they will.
Two-thirds of households did not know that updates every 48 hours and 10 litres of water a day is pledged by Scottish Water in a major incident that disrupts water supplies – and payments of up to £100 are available for customers if there is failure to do this.
The watchdog’s report ‘Guaranteed Water Rights’ is urging Scottish Water to make information on what people are entitled to clearer by including information in the water charges leaflet that goes out with annual council tax statements and by making it more visible on the Scottish Water website.
Trisha McAuley, Deputy Director of Consumer Focus Scotland said:
“Water is a vital service and when things go wrong it can cause major disruption to people’s lives.
“It is good news that Scottish Water has put a range of assurances in place for customers but the bad news is that people are simply not aware of these guarantees. It clearly shows that Scottish Water needs to do much more to improve the visibility of information.
“Households in Scotland pay hundreds of pounds each year for their water services so it’s important that everyone has information on their rights to hand – especially vulnerable households. It shouldn’t only be people who lift the phone to complain that get what they are entitled to.”
Please click for a full copy of the Consumer Focus Scotland report ‘Guaranteed Water Rights’. The report also includes the full list of Scottish Water’s guaranteed service standards and payment amounts for customers who do not receive the minimum service.