UK billpayers want more transparency in water supplier expenditure
Almost two-thirds (65%) of UK consumers are calling out for greater transparency in how bill payments are spent by water suppliers, according to new research.
The company surveyed 1,000 UK billpayers and found significant interest amongst the public to understand more about where bill money goes – and how water companies spend it.
When asked about their reasons for this, the majority of this group cited curiosity; the desire to better understand why their bills were particularly high or why they had increased since the previous year.
Others stated mistrust of the sector and the companies that operate within it. This is perhaps unsurprising given recent headlines around water company profits and shareholder dividends.
Water conservation was also a key area for concern, with consumers keen to receive more information about the actions taken by suppliers to cut down on leakage and wastage.
Amongst the remaining 35% – those that didn’t want to see how their bills are spent – a theme of apathy emerged, alongside a belief that, even if they were aware of the figures, it wouldn’t bring about any meaningful change. This disengagement highlights the lack of “emotion” that many consumers feel about a supplier they have no control over.
Andy Mack, software services director at Echo Managed Services, commented: “These findings clearly highlight that many consumers want their water suppliers to go beyond simply providing an essential service. They want them to be more responsible, ethical and to “do the right thing”, and to be more open in sharing information with them.
“Ofwat’s emerging future strategy highlights that water companies ‘have and are continuing to take steps to restore the public’s trust’, and greater transparency is crucial in this journey. But, given that many consumers admit they don’t read their bill – or simply scan it – the customer bill on its own may not be the most effective way to share this type of information.
“Water companies should continue to look to positively interact with customers in different ways; engaging with the communities they serve and showing that they are more than a faceless organisation.”