Customer contacts about drinking water - The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) annually report the number of contacts a company received about discolouration and taste and odour of drinking water.
In our business plan, we proposed a reduction in 10% over AMP6 from our 2014-15 performance; this was one of the measures where Ofwat set an industry wide target representing its view of the current upper quartile performance. In 2015-16, the target was 2,536 contacts, reducing to 2,072 in 2016/17 then from 2017-18 it reduced to a challenging 1,608 contacts.
If we fail to meet the target, we will refund customers £1,000 per contact and if we exceed the target, we could receive an incentive payment of £175 per contact.
In 2017-18, our contacts reduced from 2,172 to 2,031 contacts. Whilst this is an improvement in performance, it is outside the underperformance cap and results in an underperformance payment of £400,000.
We continue to implement a series of customer relationship management initiatives that will help improve performance in future. Continued investment in further mains rehabilitation programmes is also important. However, there are no major hot spots remaining so further work is rarely justified on cost benefit grounds.
Last year we reported that, there are no clear means by which we can achieve the target for 2017-18 and 2019-20 without investing well above what customers have indicated they are prepared to pay. We are aware that our strategy of making it very easy for customers to contact us does make it more challenging to achieve this measure compared to the rest of the industry. Therefore, we are reporting that, under normal conditions we will miss this target and have included our best estimate of the underperformance payment we will receive. We remain committed to improving our performance for our customers but we always expected that it would take longer than three years to achieve the improvement and this still looks to be the case. This situation has not changed and therefore as we have always advised, we forecast maximum underperformance payments to the end of the AMP.