Press Releases 2007

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News Release 06/2007 - Customers getting a much better service, says water watchdog.

18 October 2007

The level of service being provided to customers of Scottish Water has improved significantly in the last year, according to a report published today by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.

The Commission measures Scottish Water’s service using an overall performance assessment (OPA) – an index that combines measures that matter most to customers, such as the how quickly complaints are handled, whether they experience low water pressure, and the quality of drinking water. Based on this assessment, Scottish Water improved its levels of service to customers by 40% during 2006-07.

The Commission welcomes Scottish Water’s determined efforts to improve performance and to meet annual customer service targets that were set in 2005. Customers are now benefitting from the Scottish Government’s decision to make improvements in customer service an important factor in the award of bonuses to Scottish Water’s management and staff.

Speaking today Sir Ian Byatt, Chairman of the Commission said:

“On behalf of customers in Scotland, I am delighted to see these results – although there is further to go. I believe that the bonus arrangements now in place in Scottish Water have helped to achieve them.”

Although overall service is getting better, there remains a gap with the service that is enjoyed by customers of some water companies in England and Wales. To catch up with the best, Scottish Water will need to build on recent progress by:

improving the quality of water it puts back into rivers; reducing the number of customers experiencing inadequate water pressure; reducing the number of times that customers’ supply is interrupted; and reducing the amount of water that is lost through leakage.


  1. A copy of the Customer Service Report 2006-07 is available at

  2. The Water Industry Commission was appointed in July 2005, under the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act. Its members are Sir Ian Byatt, formerly Deputy Chief Economic Adviser at the Treasury and Director General of Water Services in England and Wales; Professor John K Banyard OBE, former Director of Asset Management at Severn Trent Water; Dr Mike Brooker, formerly Managing Director of Dwr Cymru; Mr Charles Coulthard, Chair of the Gas and Electricity Consumers Council in Scotland and formerly Managing Director of Ofgem in Scotland; Professor David Simpson, formerly economic adviser to Standard Life; and Mr Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive, formerly Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland.

  3. The Commission’s statutory duty is to determine price limits for Scottish Water based on the lowest reasonable cost of achieving ministerial objectives for the water industry. In November 2005, the Commission determined price limits for water and sewerage services for the regulatory control period 2006-07 to 2009-10. A document setting out the Commission’s full determination is available at

  4. The Commission set targets for customer service for the four years from 2006-10. During 2006-07, Scottish Water improved its overall assessment performance score to 232, compared with a score of 165 in 2005-06. This performance is 19% better than the target score of 195 set by the Commission for 2006-07. As a result, Scottish Water is now on course to achieve or beat its target for 2010 of 250.

  5. The overall performance assessment index covers four areas: water supply, sewerage service, environmental impact and customer service. The main reason for this year’s improvement was a reduction in the number of sewer flooding incidents.

    For further information please call Katherine Russell, Director of Corporate Affairs, on 01786 430200.

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