We take seriously our commitment to keep water and wastewater services affordable for all. This is highlighted by our commitment to eradicate water poverty in our areas by 2030.
We measure our performance in four ways:
Our target was 7.9 out of 10 for value for money and we exceeded this with a result of 8.1.
This was a 0.1 point reduction on performance between 2018 and 2019.
We have been working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to identify customers who are eligible for our financial support schemes.
We are using new powers within the Digital Economy Act 2017 to create a system that data matches customers for our Watersure and Pension Credit tariff reduction schemes.
This will flag up customers who are eligible for support, rather than requiring customers to send in proof of income or benefits statements.
We have made really good progress with DWP to establish how the process will work. Although COVID-19 delayed launch plans in April 2020, and means we don’t have as many customers on our pension tariff at the end of the year as forecast, we will rapidly catch up once the system goes live.
The following three measures are taken from the annual Water Matters survey, carried out by CCW (formerly known as the Consumer Council for Water). This survey allows us to compare ourselves with other water, and water and sewerage companies.
CCW have provided us with early sight of the results from their Water Matters survey. This is due to be published in July 2020. We are reporting the provisional results now and will issue an amendment to our Annual Performance Report and this summary if they differ when CCW publish them).
We saw an increase in the satisfaction with value for money of water services in the Northumbrian region.
Our target was 83% and we achieved 79%. Whilst we did not achieve our target, our score was above the industry average (76%) for value of money of water services.
We achieved our 84% target for satisfaction with value for money of sewerage services in our Northumbrian region.
Our performance was significantly higher than the industry average of 77%.
Our target was 73% and we are delighted that we exceeded this, scoring 76% for satisfaction with value for money of water services in our Essex & Suffolk Water regions.
The NWL independent value for money measure will continue throughout 2020-25.
New measures will be introduced covering:
Operating in some of the most income deprived areas of England we have a long history of leading the industry in affordability and supporting vulnerable customers.
Two of our newly launched initiatives – Water without the Worry and Water Poverty Eradication Modelling – both won awards at the Water Industry Awards in May 2019, demonstrating our commitment to this issue.
We are developing accredited industry-wide training programmes on affordability; have partnered with the New Statesman to increase the understanding of water poverty in Parliament; and are analysing water efficiency tools to create new platforms for customers to make their bills affordable.
We work with National Energy Action and StepChange to provide our customers with independent help when they need it the most.
National Energy Action (NEA)
Our partnership with NEA continued to develop in 2019/20 with the headline publication of a new discussion paper and major stakeholder event in London that considered the development of a common measurement of water poverty.
This work, part of NEA’s Water Poverty Unit, was expanded with the development of a cross-industry advisory panel that includes representatives from Defra, Citizens Advice, CCW, Ofwat, Sustainability First and Water UK, to direct a wide programme.
This programme includes research, the launch of training programmes, political engagement and pilots of consumer initiatives to test the most effective ways to challenge water poverty – from design of social tariffs, to the policy landscape, water efficiency and cross-sector working with energy. Their contribution has been noted in the research work of UKWIR, highlighted in Parliament and featured in media coverage.