Views on metering by AgZcbJ

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 36

									CONSUMER RESEARCH IN WALES
  A summary report of water consumers views




                                          MAY 2009
                                    INDEX



Summary report of findings of consumer research in Wales                         Page number

Guide to document…………………………………………………………………………………………..                                 2
Section 1: High level summary of Welsh consumers’ views on water
industry services and issues……………………………………………………………………………..                           2
Comparing findings for consumers in Wales with those across England………..              5
Differences in views between Wales and England…………………………………………..                      6
Map 1: Consumer views on the principle of competition…………………………………….                  7
Map 2: Proportion of customers who would change supplier if they could                8
Map 3: Consumers who agree rising block tariffs are reasonable in principle………        9
Map 4: Consumers who would support a rising block tariff instead of their current
metered tariff……………………………………………………………………………………………………………                               10
Map 5: Proportions of households reporting that they don’t save water……………            11
Map 6: Anticipated effect of information on water usage…………………………….                   12
Map 7: Agree water and sewerage services are good value for money………….                13
Map 8: Proportion finding their water company Draft Business Plan acceptable…         14
Annex 1: Research findings by project…………………………………………………………….                         15
Deliberative fair charging………………………………………………………………………………….                            15
Quantitative charging research………………………………………………………………………..                           18
CCWater Annual Tracking Survey 2008…………………………………………………………….                           22
PR09 quantitative research……………………………………………………………………………….                             27
Household customers’ views on competition……………………………………………………                         28
CCWater Annual Tracking Survey 2007……………………………………………………………..                          29
Setting strategic direction – competition research with business customers…..         29
PR09 deliberative research………………………………………………………………………………..                            30
Draft Determination research……..………………………………………………………………………                           34
Annex 2: Research methodologies…………………………………………………………………….                            35


          Document Control

          Primary Author(s)   Liz Cotton;

          Final draft         24 June 2009

          1st Revision        27 November to include Draft Determinations

          2nd revision




                                                1
SUMMARY REPORT OF RESEARCH FINDINGS FOR WALES BASED ON CONSUMER COUNCIL FOR
WATER RESEARCH UP TO APRIL 2009

This document analyses the specific views and perspectives of Welsh consumers from key pieces
of consumer research carried out by Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) to date. The
findings from our research are used by CCWater to inform our policy and messaging
development.

The pieces of research which have been referenced for this summary can be viewed in full on
our website. The relevant reports are:

      CCWater and Ofwat Deliberative fair charging research 2007, Corr Willbourn Research
      Ofwat and CCWater Quantitative Charging Research 2007, ORC International
      CCWater Annual Tracking 2007, FDS International
      CCWater Annual Tracking 2008, FDS International
      Deliberative research concerning consumers’ priorities for PR09 for the water industry
       stakeholder steering group, published June 2008, Corr Willbourn Research
      Household customers’ views on competition in the water and sewerage industry Ofwat
       and CCWater, report by FDS International published October 2008
      Setting strategic direction: Competition research with business customers, MVA
       consultancy in association with WRc, June 2007

Guide to this document

Section 1 contains:
    a summary of Welsh consumers’ views on water industry issues based on our research;
    a comparison of findings for Wales with those for England;
    a summary of issues where there are differences in views between Wales and England.
       This includes a selection of maps showing proportionate responses for each water and
       sewerage company in England and Wales.

Section 1 is followed by Annex 1 which is split into sections for several key reports. For each
report, the findings for Wales have been taken from either the final report or from the data
tables which hold the % findings for Wales and for each water and sewerage company region in
England. These findings are shown, where available, alongside the equivalent figure/result for
England. However, for most quantitative projects a separate figure for England is not available
to make a comparison with Wales. In these cases the findings are presented to show how Wales
sits within the findings of the full sample for England and Wales.

In Annex 1 the high level summary statements in Section 1 are shown in bold text above the
supporting evidence.

Annex 2 outlines the different research methodologies that have been used in these research
projects, and what this means in terms of sample sizes and representation for Wales.

Section 1
HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY OF WELSH CONSUMERS’ VIEWS ON WATER INDUSTRY SERVICES AND
ISSUES

General water and sewerage services
    Generally there is low awareness about water and sewerage services.
    There are high levels of satisfaction with water supply in Wales and these are higher than
      satisfaction with other utility services.


                                               2
      Around two-thirds of customers in Wales report that they are satisfied with individual
       aspects of the sewerage services they receive. However when asked about the sewerage
       service overall, nearly nine in ten reported that they are satisfied with this.
      The high satisfaction levels were reflected in the findings of the PR09 deliberative
       research where, although much of the feedback was critical there was also a great deal
       of satisfaction with the service provided by the water and sewerage companies. The
       simplicity, consistency and reliability of the services resulted in praise being very simple.
               “I am satisfied. The water is clean, fresh and of good quality compared to other
               regions.” Cardiff

Customer service
    Customers in Wales show high levels of satisfaction with                     the   way   their
      enquiries/complaints have been handled by their water company.

Drinking water
    The PR09 deliberative research found that across Wales and England, reliability, safety
       and cleanliness of British tap water is acknowledged and appreciated - although many
       have clear preferences as regards taste.
           “Welsh water is one of the best waters even though it may be expensive … Any
           foreign country you go to tap water isn’t drinkable.” Cardiff
    People care very much about the safety of water and they believe that their water is
       safe. If more money is required to maintain current safety levels, they believe it would
       be of the highest priority. However the vast majority do not believe that the safety of
       water needs to be improved. For some the deliberative process led to reassurance.
               “Before I was very worried about my water quality but having done this research
               and phoning Dee Valley I am very reassured.” Wrexham
       A small minority are concerned about the safety of the water over the long term and
       some have worries about chemicals in the water.
               “Britain’s drinking water is under threat from medicinal chemicals and cosmetic
               products being flushed down the drains of millions of households.” Cardiff

Household Competition
    Around a quarter of households in Wales would be interested in changing their supplier of
      water and sewerage services if they were given the opportunity.
    Half of Welsh household customers (50%) support the principle of introducing competition
      in Wales compared to 58% in England. This is not statistically significantly different and
      it is more supportive than customers of Northumbrian Water (46%) and similar to that of
      United Utilities (51%).
    Customers in Wales are more likely to disagree with the principle of introducing
      competition than those in England. 36% disagreed in Wales and 29% in England which is
      statistically significant. However, this is less than for Northumbrian Water where 40% of
      customers disagreed with the principle and the same as for Severn Trent Water.
    There is no significant statistical difference between the customers of Wales and those of
      England in terms of likelihood of switching supplier. In Wales 33% said they would be
      likely to switch, and in England this was 38%.
    Most people are aware that water companies have regional monopolies. They believe
      that this means that companies are not subject to the rigours of competition. A good
      number therefore called for competition to be introduced to improve service and drive
      down prices.
              “If you’re not happy with your water supply there is nothing you can do about it.”
              Cardiff

Business Competition
    In terms of business customers views on competition it should be noted that the research
      carried out involved business customers with multiple sites in both England and Wales. It
      is therefore not possible to separate out findings as being distinct to England or Wales


                                                 3
       because of this commercial cross over and the findings shown here are for England and
       Wales combined.
      84% support the principle of competition and 61% were quite/very likely to consider
       switching in the right circumstances;
      The key drivers for switching were lower bills (93%), better service (49%), and guaranteed
       switch-back (43%). Most (60%) think the competition regime for the water industry
       compares unfavourably with other utilities.

Charging and metering (household customers)
    The deliberative fair charging research found some support for tariffs that encourage
       people to use water carefully and little support for changing the current metered
       charging structure unless it can encourage careful use of water and is simple to
       understand and administer.
    The quantitative charging research found that around two-thirds of customers in Wales
       think that the current structure of the metered tariff i.e. pay a fixed standing and then a
       fixed amount for each cubic metre of water used is reasonable.
    Around two-thirds of customers in Wales think that a metered tariff structured along
       rising block tariff lines sounds reasonable although just four in ten would support its
       introduction and think it would make them use less water.
    Around four in ten customers in Wales think that a seasonal tariff sounds reasonable and
       whilst a third would support its introduction, a third would also oppose it. A third think
       it would make them use less water.
    The findings of the Ofwat and CCWater Quantitative Charging Research 2007 suggest that
       customers in Wales have slightly more favourable attitudes to alternative metered tariffs
       than those in England.
    Customers in Wales have mixed views on cross subsidies between different groups of
       household customers. About half support the principle of a rural-urban and vulnerable
       group cross subsidy but this falls to a third for the cross subsidy between different sized
       unmeasured households. Support for the vulnerable group cross subsidy falls as the cost
       of the subsidy increases.

Environment
    There is widespread awareness of environmental issues although understanding is
       frequently at a fairly generalised level.
            “Going along with climate change and saving resources, what can you do? Obviously
            not leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth.” Cardiff

Industry structure
    The PR09 deliberative research found that in Aberystwyth, a minority were aware, and
       appreciative, of Welsh Water’s structure (without shareholders). When the idea of this
       model was introduced elsewhere (i.e. in workshops held in England) it was seen as
       attractive and a possible way of delivering better value for money.
    The household competition research found that in two focus groups, having a not-for-
       profit supplier would be a motivator for changing supplier. However in Wales where the
       incumbent supplier is a not-for-profit organisation there was no awareness that this was
       the case, and perceptions of the water company were still that shareholders were
       benefiting from imposing high bills on the customers.
               ‘They’re all profit making companies so they want to make as much profit as
               possible’ (Female, Wales, 40-59)

Affordability and fairness of charges
    CCWater’s most recent tracking survey found that just over half (55%) of customers in
       Wales agree that the water and/or sewerage charges they pay are fair, and 70% think
       that these charges are affordable.

Value for money


                                                4
      The tracking survey also found that around seven in ten customers in Wales say they are
       satisfied with the value for money they get from water and sewerage services. This
       compares favourably with satisfaction with value for money from energy suppliers and
       council tax, but less so with telephone landline services.
      The PR09 quantitative research found that 90% of customers in Wales were satisfied with
       the water and sewerage services they receive and 70% thought the services were good
       value for money. This compares favourably with views in England where 86% said they
       were satisfied and 64% thought the services were good value for money.

Water meters
    The quantitative charging research found that Welsh consumers view metering as the
      fairest way to charge for water and sewerage services but are concerned that it will lead
      to higher bills.
    Around half of customers in Wales think it is fair, and would in principle support a policy
      of metering in areas of water stress.

Using water wisely
    There is awareness that we should all use water carefully although there is also a
       perception that as we get so much rain it shouldn’t be an issue.
    The quantitative charging research found that nearly eight in ten customers in Wales
       would find additional information about their water consumption and the environmental
       impact of this useful to some degree. However, more than half did not think this would
       make any difference to the amount of water they would use.
    CCWater’s most recent tracking survey found that just over a third of customers in Wales
       reported that they don’t do anything in the home to reduce their use of water.
       Customers in Wales tend to take fewer actions to save water in the home than customers
       in England.

COMPARING FINDINGS FOR CONSUMERS IN WALES WITH THOSE IN ENGLAND

On most issues, the views of customers and consumers in Wales are very similar to those of
customers and consumers of similar companies in England. We have established this from the
quantitative research by:
    checking percentage figures for Wales with those for the full sample for England and
       Wales (and where available, England) to see if there is a significant difference from the
       total average;
    checking percentage figures for Wales against the range of findings for water and
       sewerage company regions of England to see whether Wales is an outlier or if it sits
       within the range.

For qualitative research we rely on the research agency to bring out any differences between
focus groups held in Wales and those held in England or any of the regions of England. Any
differences are not representative of consumers or customers in Wales as the sample sizes for
qualitative research are too small to give us this confidence. The findings from qualitative
research give an insight into why people think what they think. To date there have not been
any reported differences in key qualitative research findings between England and Wales,
although comment (generally favourable) has occasionally been made on the ‘not for profit’
principle (shown in Annex 1).

From our review of our quantitative research we have identified a few areas where views in
Wales appear to be different from the England and Wales average. Details of these follow.




                                               5
DIFFERENCES IN VIEWS BETWEEN WALES AND ENGLAND

Competition
There is mixed evidence as to the support Welsh customers have for the principle of
competition. The first research we did on this was in our tracking survey in 2007, where around
a quarter of household customers in Wales said they favoured competition – the same as for the
full sample for England and Wales.

However, we carried out a more in depth survey into household customers’ views on competition
in 2008. Customers were asked how far they agreed or disagreed with the principle of
competition in the water industry. Whilst there is more support in Wales for this principle than
there was from the customers of Northumbrian Water (46%) and a similar level to that of United
Utilities (51%), there is less support in Wales than the average for England. The difference
between Wales and England in terms of agreeing with the principle of competition is not
statistically significant. Map 1 on the following page refers.

However, the difference between Wales and England on the proportions who disagree with the
principle of competition is statistically significant i.e. customers in Wales are more likely to say
that they disagree with the principle of competition with 36% in Wales disagreeing and 29% in
England. However, this is less than for Northumbrian Water where 40% of customers disagreed
with the principle and the same as for Severn Trent Water.

Although Welsh customers are more likely to disagree with the principle of competition, this
would not necessarily translate into switching behaviour as there is no significant difference
between England and Wales in terms of likelihood of switching with. In Wales 33% said they
would be likely to switch, and in England this was 38%. On a regional basis, customers of
Northumbrian Water are less likely than those in Wales to switch with just 29% saying they would
do so.

It should also be borne in mind that a high proportion (55%) of customers in the South West of
England say they would be likely to switch and this has helped to push the average for England
up.




                                                 6
Map 1:




         7
Map 2:




         8
Alternative metered tariffs
The quantitative charging research carried out in 2007 found that views from Wales on
alternative metered tariffs were equivalent to that of companies such as Northumbrian Water
and South West Water and generally more favourable than for the full sample across England and
Wales. For example, 60% of respondents in Wales said that a rising block type tariff was a good
idea in principle versus 48% over the full sample for England and Wales. 39% of respondents in
Wales said they would support the introduction of a rising block type tariff instead of the current
metered tariff, versus 33% across the full sample for England and Wales. A similar pattern
appeared in responses to comparable questions about a seasonal tariff. Maps 3 and 4 below show
findings by water and sewerage company.
Map 3:




                                                9
Map 4:




         10
Using water wisely
CCWater’s most recent tracking survey found that customers in Wales seem to be less likely to
choose to save water than customers in England apart from those served by Northumbrian Water
– when asked what actions, if any, are taken to reduce water use in the home, 34% of
respondents in Wales said ‘none’ versus 27% across the full sample for England and Wales.

The 2007 quantitative fair charging research found that Welsh customers are less likely to save
water even if they have information on their consumption and the environmental impact of
water usage than customers of the water and sewerage companies in England. 55% of
respondents in Wales said that this information wouldn’t make any difference to the amount of
water they used, versus 43% across the full sample for England and Wales. Maps 5 and 6 show
responses across the water and sewerage companies.
Map 5:




                                              11
Map 6:




         12
Satisfaction with current services, value for money of services and acceptability of Draft
Business Plans and Draft Determinations
The PR09 quantitative research into customers’ views on company Draft Business Plans was
carried out in September-November 2008. This found that the customers of Dŵr Cymru Welsh
Water and Dee Valley Water were slightly more satisfied with their water and sewerage services
than customers in England (Wales satisfaction 90%, England 86%). Satisfaction levels with the
value for money of services were far higher in Wales than in England – 77% satisfied in Wales
versus 58% in England. However if compared company by company, Dwr Cymru and Dee Valley
were still significantly lower than Yorkshire Water (91%). Acceptability of company Draft
Business Plans was also far higher in Wales (93%) than in England (62%). With both companies
presenting small increases in costs, and consumers rating this as their principal guide of value
for money, it may help to explain this trend. Maps 7 and 8 show responses by water and
sewerage company for satisfaction with value for money of current services and acceptability of
DBPs.

Further research was undertaken in August 2009, this time into the acceptability of Ofwat’s
Draft Determinations for the pricing review. This found that value for money figures had
dropped across the industry with Dŵr Cymru (37%) slightly higher than English WaSCs (35%) and
Dee Valley (50%) compared to English WoCs (47%) agreeing good value for money. On the
acceptability of the Draft Determinations the figures were comparable for both WaSCs and WoCS
at Wales (85%) and England (84%).

Map 7:




                                              13
Map 8:




         14
RESEARCH FINDINGS BY PROJECT                                                            Annex 1


Research report: Deliberative Fair Charging Research, research agency Corr Willborne 5.02.07
Methodology: deliberative. This gives qualitative feedback by respondents who had taken part
in a workshop and had been informed about key issues before giving more considered thoughts
at a follow up workshop. Two focus groups and a workshop held in Aberystwyth. The views of
focus groups held in Wales were consistent with those held in England
Views on metering
It’s the fairest way to charge but customers in Wales are concerned that it will lead to higher
bills.
Evidence:
“The idea of putting everyone on a meter works in theory but … if everyone is going on a meter
that could mean they are making a loss … and so I would assume that … then meter rates would
go up to compensate.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth] Page 51

“If you have got an effective way of charging people so they are encouraged to think about their
water usage then it will be a fairer thing across the country and you know globally possibly.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth] Page 58

“I consider it would be fair if everyone is on a meter but then if I did get a meter maybe my bills
might be higher.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth] Page 58

“I would accept that payment based on consumption is a fair way of doing it but I am here
[against fairness] because I don't want to pay anymore.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth] Page 58

Increased levels of metering:
“If they leave it the way it is and it is more or less voluntary whether you go onto a meter or not
then the people who are likely to have to go onto a meter are the ones who are saving money in
doing so which means the income is decreased and they have to recoup the price from
somewhere else. And so the price will inevitably go up somewhere and so it is going to go up
regardless.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]

Views on value for money
 “I think for everything we get it is costing how much a day, a quid a day or something less to be
able to wash, to be able to put the washing machine on, to be able wash my kids, everything. I
have watered my garden this summer and I think that is amazing value for money for something
that I need and I would die if I didn't have.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth] Page 60

Views on value for money and it’s relationship to fairness (industry structure/bills) Page 7
In Aberystwyth, a minority were aware, and appreciative, of Welsh Water’s structure
(without shareholders). When the idea of this model was introduced elsewhere (i.e. in
workshops held in England) it was seen as attractive and a possible way of delivering better
value for money.

Views on current water and sewerage services
Generally there is low awareness about water and sewerage services.
“For the most part people I spoke to didn't really have an opinion on it.”
[ABC1, Young family & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“We take it for granted and in that way you don't know the process. You are not all that
interested in finding out the processes are you? You just use it.”
[C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]

                                                15
Views on hosepipe bans
“My parents live in the South East and they have constantly got a hosepipe ban.”
[C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
Views on saving water page 38
There is awareness that we should all use water carefully although there is also a perception
that as we get so much rain it shouldn’t be an issue.
“I don't want people wasting it because in certain parts of the world they haven’t got enough to
drink and so I think it is right that people should be made to use it carefully.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth]
“My husband always runs the tap while he is brushing his teeth and I always say switch the tap
off because it is something I always do and he says ‘Well we get loads of rain here and so what is
the problem?’”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“My sister is on a meter and doing everything she can to save water and she was saying the most
waste is because they have got a combi boiler and they have to run the tap for ages before the
hot water comes.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]

Views on saving water and tariffs
There is some support for tariffs that encourage people to use water carefully.
“I think it is unfair that you can be using as much water as you want to and be paying the same
price as somebody who is trying hard to save water because at the end of the day I think
everybody should be encouraged to save things that are needed.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“If you have got an effective way of charging people so they are encouraged to think about their
water usage then it will be a fairer thing across the country and you know globally possibly.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth]


Views on possible future tariffs and charging methods
Little support for changing current metered charging structure unless it can encourage
careful use of water and is simple to understand and administer.
 No standing charge: increased charge per cubic metre
“It would just remain the same really. It just becomes hidden doesn’t it?”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
Double the standing charge: reduce the charge per cubic metre
“A lot of people agree that being unmetered is unfair at the moment and [option 2] is just going
to make it worse because it is just going to be a standing charge and you are not really going to
be paying for what you use again.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“There would be less incentive to save water.”
[C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“I don’t want it because I cannot save hardly anymore water than I actually do now because I am
a bit on the tight side and I don't mind admitting it. At the end of the day I would end up paying
more for less.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth]
Harmonise the standing charges across England and Wales and adjust the rate per cubic metre to
compensate
“Even though everyone is paying the same to start with, everyone is going to end up paying more
or less than each other and it is probably going to end up pretty much the same as it is.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
Rising block tariff with a free or low cost tranche per occupant
“With that option you would have to somehow inform the water company how many people are
living there. You would have to keep informing them as people are moving in or moving out and I
think that complicates it.”
[ABC1, Young family, Aberystwyth]
Rising block tariff with a free or low cost tranche, then increasing price per block of water used
“It’s brilliant because the more you use the more you pay, and if you use more and more and
                                               16
more then you keep paying more and more and more.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“I think it is way too complicated … you might be just on the very edge of the next block up and
be paying for all that extra water you could be using and you are not.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
Seasonal tariff – increase by 20% in summer and reduce for rest of year to compensate
“It is a rubbish idea because it is just going to create bitterness and resentment towards the
water company in the summer. Surely they have got ways of storing the water during the rainier
season.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]
“It would depend between areas of the country really. Here we don't have a summer and … I
think it would cause bitterness - more than [compared to] … wherever gets more sunshine and
has a proper summer.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth
Base charges on number of people living in property
“It is open to abuse but so are most systems I mean you can't stop the fact that some people
always try and play it and always try and get away with something.”
[ABC1, Young family, & C2DE, Young Singles, Aberystwyth]




                                              17
Research report: Ofwat and CCWater Quantitative Charging Research 2007 ORC
International published April 2008
Methodology - quantitative survey: 150 interviews in Wales, 1350 in England, householders 80%
bill payers, 20% non-bill payers. The findings for England and Wales were presented together in
the final report. The findings for Wales which are shown below were taken from the data
tables and show that they are generally consistent with the full sample.
Key findings: affordability (more up to date figures are used from Tracking Survey)
How much do you agree or disagree that water and sewerage              Wales       England and
charges are affordable for you?                                      Agree 59%        Wales
                                                                                    Agree 59%
Key findings: cross subsidies
Customers in Wales have mixed views on cross subsidies between different groups of
household customers. About half support the principle of a rural-urban and vulnerable
group cross subsidy but this falls to a third for the cross subsidy between different sized
unmeasured households. Support for the vulnerable group cross subsidy falls as the cost of
the subsidy increases.

                                                                      Wales       England and
To what extent do you feel that the principle of the following                       Wales
cross subsidies is reasonable?

Rural-urban cross subsidy                                              48%            48%

Different sized unmetered households                                   29%            39%

WaterSure(available in Wales at the time of this research)
In principle, to what extent do you agree that Groups 1 and 2
should be helped by increasing other customer's bills?                 48%            48%

To provide assistance to both these groups, all households
currently pay about an extra £1 per year for their water. To
what extent do you think this is reasonable?                           63%            68%

In order to help other groups would you find it acceptable for
this charge to increase to….                                           34%            39%
£2?

£5?
(Smaller base: all those who answered Yes to increasing to £2 –        46%            31%
1015 full sample, Wales 42)

£10?
(Smaller base: all those who answered Yes to increasing to £2 –        16%            12%
1015 full sample, Wales 42)

£10 plus?
(Smaller base: all those who answered Yes to increasing to £2 –        6%              4%
1015 full sample, Wales 42)

Key findings: views on mechanisms to support vulnerable/low income households
What ways, if any, aside from increasing water bills, would be   Wales      England and
better in order to support these households?                                   Wales

Government help through benefits                                       35%            29%

Payment to be made directly to water companies from                    8%             19%
                                               18
government

Water companies should pay out of their profits                       23%             30%
Key findings: views on basis of charge/increased metering
Around two-thirds of customers in Wales think that water meters are the fairest way to
charge for water and sewerage services and support the trend for increased metering.
Around two-thirds also think that the structure of the metered tariff i.e. pay a fixed
standing and then a fixed amount for each cubic metre of water used is reasonable.
                                                                  Wales       England and
Thinking about water charging, of the following two options,                     Wales
which one do you think is fairest?

Charges based on the rateable value of homes                          15%             16%

Charges based on how much people use (i.e. a water meter)             65%             57%

They are equally fair                                                 10%             12%

Neither are fair                                                       4%             6%


To what extent do you…

…support the trend for increased water metering?                      68%             58%

…oppose the trend for increased water metering?                       12%             20%

Question about the metered tariff i.e. pay a fixed standing
charge plus a fixed tariff per cubic metre of water used
Thinking about the current system, to what extent do you think
this is…

Reasonable?                                                           65%             59%

Unreasonable?                                                         12%             16%


Key findings: views on principle of metering in areas of water stress
Around half of customers in Wales think it is fair, and would in principle support a policy of
metering in areas of water stress.
Overall, how fair or unfair do you think it is to meter customers    Wales       England and
where there are resource problems?                                                   Wales

Fair                                                                  54%             42%

Unfair                                                                15%             28%

To what extent would you support or oppose such a policy?

Support                                                               49%             40%

Oppose                                                                19%             30%

Key findings: views on alternative metered tariffs
Around two-thirds of customers in Wales think that a metered tariff structured along rising
block tariffs lines sounds reasonable although just four in ten would support its
introduction and think it would make them use less water.
                                               19
Around four in ten customers in Wales think that a seasonal tariff sounds reasonable and
whilst a third would support its introduction, a third would also oppose it. A third think it
would make them use less water.
There is some evidence to suggest that customers in Wales have slightly more favourable
attitudes to alternative metered tariffs than those in England.
                                                                    Wales       England and
To what extent do you think the following tariffs are                              Wales
reasonable?

Rising block tariff                                                  60%             48%

Seasonal tariff                                                      42%             35%

To what extent do you think the following tariffs are
unreasonable?

Rising block tariff                                                  20%             25%

Seasonal tariff                                                      30%             37%

Do you support the introduction of the following tariffs instead
of the current (metered) one?

Rising block tariff                                                  39%             33%

Seasonal tariff                                                      33%             27%

Do you oppose the introduction of the following tariffs instead
of the current (metered) one?

Rising block tariff                                                  28%             31%

Seasonal tariff                                                      32%             44%


To what extent do you agree that these tariffs would make you
use less water?
                                                                     44%             41%
Rising block tariff
                                                                     31%             33%
Seasonal tariff

To what extent do you disagree that these tariffs would make
you use less water?

Rising block tariff                                                  25%             22%

Seasonal tariff                                                      34%             31%

Key findings: effect of additional consumption/environmental impact information on water
usage
Nearly eight in ten customers in Wales would find additional information about their water
consumption and the environmental impact of this useful to some degree. However, more
than half do not think this would make any difference to the amount of water they would
use.
                                                                   Wales      England and
 More information can be provided on water bills such as                         Wales

                                               20
pattern of water use over time or impact on the environment.
How useful, if at all, do you think this information would be to
consumers?

Very useful                                                        29%   28%

Of some use                                                        48%   44%

Not at all useful                                                  18%   22%

What impact, if any, do you think this information would have
on your water usage?

Would not make any difference                                      55%   43%

Would cut my water consumption slightly                            24%   33%

Would cut my water consumption a lot                               8%    9%




                                               21
Research report: CCWater Annual Tracking Survey 2008. Research Agency FDS International
published February 2009
Methodology: quantitative telephone survey, 2000 interviews across England and Wales
November and December 2008. 200 interviews per water and sewerage company region.
Findings for England and Wales are reported together as they are broadly in line with each
other. The % figures for Wales shown below are taken from the data tables and are compared
with findings for the full sample i.e. England and Wales together.
How far do you agree that the bill you receive for your water      Wales        England and
and sewerage is clear and understandable?                                          Wales
                                                                    82%             82%
Key findings: satisfaction with value for money with water & sewerage services and other
utilities
Around seven in ten customers in Wales say they are satisfied with the value for money they
get from water and sewerage services. This compares favourably with satisfaction with
value for money from energy supplies and council tax, but less so with telephone landline
services.
                                                                   Wales        England and
How satisfied are you with the value for money of…                                 Wales

…the water services in your area?                                   68%             70%

…the sewerage services in your area? (excluding those with          72%             71%
septic tanks)

…the services from your energy supplier (gas and electricity)?      64%             63%

…the services from your telephone landline supplier?                86%             85%

…the services from your Council Tax?                                43%             49%

Key findings: fairness and affordability of charges
Just over half the customers on Wales agree that the water and/or sewerage charges they
pay are fair and affordable, and around seven in ten think that these charges are affordable.

                                                                   Wales        England and
                                                                                   Wales
How much do you agree that the water and/or sewerage                55%             61%
charges you pay are fair?

How much do you agree that the water and/or sewerage                70%             73%
charges you pay are affordable?

How much do you disagree that the water and/or sewerage             22%             18%
charges you pay are affordable?
Key findings: awareness of rights/services
                                                                   Wales        England and
                                                                                   Wales




                                               22
Were you aware that…
…you can pay your water and/or sewerage bill in instalments          89%          89%
e.g. monthly, fortnightly or weekly?

…when requested water meters are fitted free of charge?              60%          64%

…if a water meter is fitted at your request, you have 12 months
to decide whether or not you like it. If you decide you don't like   32%          31%
it, you can go back to your original water rate charge for your
property. There are no extra charges made for trialling this
service?

Are you aware of or are you currently on the WaterSure tariff?        7%           7%
This was introduced to help people in low income groups who
need to use a lot of water.

Unaware                                                              90%          91%


Are you aware of your water company's services for elderly           21%          25%
and/or disabled customers?

Were you aware that if your water and/or sewerage company            41%          40%
fails to meet certain customer service standards for reasons
within their control you may be entitled to compensation?

How likely would you be to contact your water company if you         79%          78%
were worried about paying your bill?

How likely are you to read information provided by your water        68%          70%
and/or sewerage company about the services you receive? (for
example leaflets received with your bill)

Key findings: awareness of responsibilities
                                                                     Wales    England and
Awareness that the householder is responsible for…                               Wales

…maintaining the water pipes at property                             54%          55%

…maintaining any sewerage pipes and drains at property             47%             53%
Key findings: satisfaction with company contact
Customers in Wales show high levels of satisfaction with the way their enquiries/complaints
have been handled by their water company.
                                                                  Wales        England and
Have you contacted your water and/or sewerage company to                          Wales




                                                23
make an enquiry in the past 12 months? Yes                         18%           18%

Why? (Base for this question is 21 respondents)
To make a complaint                                                19%           12%
To make an enquiry relating to drought/water shortage Wales        14%            6%
(Other reasons given where no or very little difference between
Wales and rest of sample have been omitted)

(Base for the following is 21 respondents)
Thinking about your contact with your water and/or sewerage
company, overall how satisfied were you with:

      The ease of contacting someone who was able to help         94%           79%
       you

      The quality/ clarity of information provided                90%           81%

      The knowledge and professionalism of staff                  94%           83%

      The feeling that your call had been, or would be,           84%           75%
       resolved

      The way that the water company has kept you informed        51%           57%
       of progress with your enquiry (and /or) claim

Have you made a complaint to your water and/or sewerage
company in the past 12 months? Yes                                 2%             2%
(Wales 2% = 3 respondents which does not give statistically
significant findings for comparison at company level or with the
full sample.)

Taking everything into account, overall how satisfied were you
with the contact with your water and/or sewerage company?          85%           81%
(Weighted base for Wales = 23)


Kay findings: satisfaction with water supply
There are high levels of satisfaction with water supply in Wales and these are higher than
satisfaction with other utility services.
                                                                  Wales       England and
How satisfied are you with the following aspects of your water                   Wales
supply:

The colour and appearance of your tap water?                        92%          95%

Taste and smell of tap water?                                       90%          88%

Hardness/softness of your water?                                    89%          70%

The safety of your drinking water?                                  90%          91%

The reliability of your water supply?                               96%          96%

Your water pressure?                                                89%          91%

Taking all those aspects into account, overall how satisfied are    94%          95%
you with your water supply?

                                               24
Over the past year do you think that your service has got…            6%           4%
…better?

…worse?                                                               4%           2%




Key findings: satisfaction with services from other utilities
How satisfied are you with services you receive from other         Wales       England and
organisations such as...                                                          Wales

      Your energy supplier (gas and electricity)?                  83%             80%

      Your telephone landline supplier?                            87%             88%

      Your local council?                                          65%             72%

Key findings: views on tap water versus bottled water
                                                                   Wales       England and
Which of the following do you think is better for you?                            Wales

Tap water                                                           34%           39%

Bottled water                                                       14%           14%

Both equally good                                                   50%           45%

Don’t know                                                          2%             2%

How much do you agree that you usually drink tap water rather
than bottled water?                                                 80%           82%

Key findings: views on using water wisely and awareness of water saving campaigns
Just over a third of customers in Wales reported that they don’t do anything in the home to
reduce their use of water. Customers in Wales tend to take fewer actions to save water in
the home than customers in England.

                                                                   Wales       England and
                                                                                  Wales
What actions, if any, have you and your household taken to
reduce your use of water? None                                      34%           27%

How have you been made aware, if at all, of any campaigns to
use water wisely in the past 12 months? Not aware of any        54% (highest      42%
campaigns to use water wisely                                        %)
Key findings: general awareness of sewage treatment process
                                                                   Wales       England and
What do you think happens to the waste water that goes down                       Wales


                                                25
the toilet/sink in your property?

Cleaned at treatment works                                         66%            73%

Goes direct to sea                                                     12%           5%
(Other options omitted here as no difference in Wales responses
compared to full sample.)
Key findings: satisfaction with sewerage services
Around two-thirds of customers in Wales report that they are satisfied with individual
aspects of the sewerage services they receive. However when asked about the sewerage
service overall, nearly nine in ten reported that they are satisfied with this.
                                                                      Wales     England and
How satisfied are you with your sewerage company’s                                 Wales
management of the following aspects of their sewerage service:

      Reducing smells from sewage treatment works                 56%            54%
      Maintenance of sewerage pipes and treatment works           64%            63%

      Cleaning waste water properly before releasing it back      67%            67%
       into the environment

      Minimising sewer flooding                                   63%            62%

Taking all those aspects into account, overall how satisfied are  89%        89%
you with your sewerage service?
Key findings: do water and sewerage companies care more or less about their customers
than other utilities
                                                                 Wales   England and
                                                                            Wales
How much do you agree that your water and/or sewerage
company cares about the service it gives to customers?            71%        70%

How much do you agree that your gas and electricity company      60%           54%
cares about the service it gives to customers?
Key findings: how much do customers trust their water and/or sewerage company compared
to gas and electricity company
                                                                Wales      England and
For the following questions please give a score on a 1-10 scale               Wales
where 10 means that you trust them completely and 1 means
that you don't trust them at all

How much do you trust your water and/or sewerage company?       Mean 7.05      Mean 7.14

How much do you trust your gas and electricity company?       Mean 2.18      Mean 2.20
Key findings: what is more important – affordability or ethical business or both equally
important
Which of the following is more important to you?                Wales       England and
                                                                               Wales

Your water and/or sewerage bill being affordable                   12%            10%

Your water and/or sewerage company conducting its business         8%              8%
ethically

Both equally important                                             80%            82%

                                              26
Research report: Understanding customers’ views PR09 Quantitative Research into
Customers’ Priorities – Company Reports (Wales) published February 2009 BMG research
and MVA Consultancy
Methodology - quantitative survey: Dee Valley Water sample of 257 bill payers; Dŵr Cymru
Welsh Water sample of 302 bill payers.
Key findings: Uninformed views of current services
90% of customers in Wales reported that they were satisfied with the water and sewerage
services they receive and 70% thought the services were good value for money. This
compares favourably with views in England where 86% said they were satisfied and 64%
thought the services were good value for money.
                                                        Dee      Dŵr     Wales England
                                                       Valley  Cymru
                                                       Water    Welsh
                                                                Water
How satisfied are you with the water and sewerage       93%      91%      90%      86%
service you receive?
How do you rate your current water and sewerage
service in terms of value for money? Good               74%      69%      70%      64%
How acceptable do you consider the company’s plan       77%      93%      92%      60%
overall?
Key findings: Informed views on current service
How do you rate your current water service in terms of  71%      78%      77%      60%
value for money? Good
How do you rate your current sewerage service in        70%      78%      78%      60%
terms of value for money? Good
How do you rate your current service overall in terms   69%      79%      77%      58%
of value for money? Good
Key findings: Informed views on Draft Business Plan
How acceptable do you consider your company’s
proposed plan for water services and the impacts on     83%      94%      93%      63%
your water bill? Acceptable
How acceptable do you consider your company’s
proposed plan for sewerage services and the impacts     83%      93%      93%      63%
on your sewerage bill? Acceptable
How acceptable do you consider your company’s
proposed plan as a whole and the impact on your         82%      93%      93%      62%
overall bill? Acceptable




                                           27
Research report: Household customers’ views on competition in the water and sewerage
industry Ofwat and CCWater, report by FDS International published October 2008
Methodology – qualitative – 6 focus groups (one in Wales) and a quantitative survey of 2000 bill
payers with a sample of 203 for Wales. Findings for England and Wales have not been split out
in the general analysis contained in the report; however reference which is specific to Wales in
the report is shown below. We have also recently requested additional analysis to find out if
differences in findings for Wales and England on the key issue of the principle of competition
are statistically significant.
Theme: Industry structure page 31
“In two (focus) groups, having a not-for-profit supplier would be a motivator for changing
(supplier). However in Wales where the incumbent supplier is a not-for-profit organisation
there was no awareness that this was the case, and perceptions of the water company
were still that shareholders were benefiting from imposing high bills on the customers.
‘They’re all profit making companies so they want to make as much profit as possible’
(Female, Wales, 40-59)”

Household competition
                                                                          Wales       England

To what extent do you agree with the principle of introducing              50%          58%
competition in the water and sewerage industry?

To what extent do you disagree with the principle of introducing           36%          29%
competition in the water and sewerage industry?

Agree – Ranges from lowest 46% Northumbria to 68% Thames
Disagree – Ranges from lowest 23% South West and Thames to 40%
Northumbria

*Statistical significance – the difference between the ‘agree’ figures
for England and Wales is not statistically significant.
The difference between the ‘disagree’ figures for England and Wales
is statistically significant. Customers in Wales are more likely to
disagree with the principle of introducing competition in the water
and sewerage industry.
Technical note – when two results are around the 50% mark, the
difference between them which is needed for them to be statistically
significantly different is larger than for two results which are in the
20-30% range. This is why the ‘agree’ figures, which have a bigger
range, are not significantly different.




                                                28
Research report: CCWater Annual Tracking Survey 2007-08. Research Agency FDS
International published February 2008
Methodology – quantitative survey of 2000 householders; 90% bill payers and 10% non bill
payers. Sample of 200 for Wales. Findings for England and Wales have not been split out in the
analysis; the findings below have been taken from the data tables.
Theme: Household competition
Around a quarter of households in Wales would be interested in changing their supplier of
water and sewerage services if they were given the opportunity.
                                                                        Wales      England &
                                                                                     Wales
If you were given the opportunity, would you want to change your
supplier of water and sewerage services?

Yes                                                                       24%         25%

No                                                                        68%         69%



Research report: Setting strategic direction: Competition research with business
customers, MVA consultancy in association with WRc, June 2007
Methodology – quantitative survey across England and Wales of business customers. The
sample was split into those eligible to change supply under the competition regime introduced
in December 2005 i.e. industrial users with sites using 50Ml year, and ineligible business
customers using 5 – 49Ml a year. 684 customers completed the online survey – 501 eligible
customers, 183 ineligible customers. The sample/findings on attitudes to competition weren’t
split out for England and Wales as some business customers had multiple sites across England
and Wales e.g. one head office was responsible for over 2000 business sites in England and
Wales.
Key findings (covering England and Wales)
84% support the principle of competition;
61% were quite/very likely to consider switching in the right circumstances;
The key drivers for switching were lower bills (93%), better service (49%), and guaranteed
switch-back (43%).
Most (60%) think the competition regime for the water industry compares unfavourably
with other utilities;




                                              29
Research report: Deliberative research concerning consumers’ priorities for PR09 for the
water industry stakeholder steering group, published June 2008, Corr Willbourn Research.
Methodology – deliberative research in 3 stages – stage 1. Focus groups held across England &
Wales to find out uninformed views and set the scene for stage 2; stage 2. Self-guided
deliberation and research on water industry issues for up to 2 weeks; stage 3. Reconvene focus
groups into deliberative workshops to discuss and explore water industry investment issues.
Four focus groups in Wales, 2 in Cardiff and 2 in Wrexham. Findings for England and Wales
have not been split out in the analysis; reference which is specific to Wales in the report is
shown below but it should be noted that these findings apply to both England and Wales, it is
just the quotes from Wales which have been picked out.
Stage One findings (uninformed focus group discussions)
Theme: water supply page 43
It was clear that the reliability, safety and cleanliness of British water is acknowledged and
appreciated - although many had clear preferences as regards taste.
“Welsh water is one of the best waters even though it may be expensive … Any foreign
country you go to tap water isn’t drinkable.”
Cardiff
Theme: the ‘green’ agenda page 46
There was widespread awareness of environmental issues; however understanding is
frequently at a fairly generalised level.
“Going along with climate change and saving resources, what can you do? Obviously not
leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth.”
Cardiff
Theme: global warming page 47
The significance of global warming for the water industry was variously understood.
“This sounds stupid but isn’t that better to drink and waste more water? ... If you drink more
water it will be replaced by the ice that melts... so you should use more water because more
iceberg is being melted so as the climate changes, it’s getting warmer so you get more water
so you should use more water rather than save water. If you save water you got extra water.”
Cardiff
Theme: drinking water quality and additives page 48
The most common responses ranged from ‘satisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’ with the safety,
reliability and cleanliness of their water. Amongst the minority who were worried about
chemicals in the water it was clear that there were a number of vague rumours about water
quality but very little, if any, clear or accurate knowledge about them.
“Wasn’t there something about fluoride being some sort of mind suppressant?”
Cardiff
“In Westways for instance there’s a high level of cancer and they seem to think that that when
we had the Chernobyl disaster the water is filtered down through peat beds down to the tiny
pools and their concern is that … it might be producing a toxic situation there.”
Cardiff
Theme: regional monopolies page 49
Almost all respondents were aware that water companies have regional monopolies. They
believe that this means that companies are not subject to the rigours of competition. A
good number therefore called for competition to be introduced to improve service and
drive down prices.
“If you’re not happy with your water supply there is nothing you can do about it.”
Cardiff
Theme: profits page 50
There was a widespread belief that Water Companies make large profits, which was generally
considered outrageous. There was little sense that profits were proportionate or deserved on
account of service.
“Why do they have to make profits? When it was nationalised they didn't make profits.”
Wrexham
Theme: overall satisfaction page 54

                                              30
It is important to note that although much of the feedback from the deliberation is critical
there was a great deal of satisfaction with the service provided by the water and sewerage
companies. However the simplicity, consistency and reliability of the services resulted in
praise being very simple.
“I am satisfied. The water is clean, fresh and of good quality compared to other regions.”
Cardiff
Theme: maintenance of assets – sewers page 59
Sewer maintenance - like all matters pertaining to sewerage - had a much lower profile than
water main maintenance. Nonetheless many assumed that the sewers, being as old as the
mains, also were leaking and also needed repairs - just because they were old.
“I’ve been on a few calls (as a fire fighter) where there has been problems with the sewers
flooding because the maintenance hasn’t been done.”
Wrexham
However sewerage problems were largely seen as a result of problems other than poor
maintenance:
“More homes equals more demand, you need more supply – more sewerage.”
Cardiff
Theme: drinking water quality page 63
It was clear that people care very much about the safety of water. At the moment they
believe that their water is safe. If more money is required to maintain current safety
levels, they believe it would be of the highest priority. However the vast majority do not
believe that the safety of water needs to be improved.
For some the deliberative process led to reassurance.
“Before I was very worried about my water quality but having done this research and
phoning Dee Valley I am very reassured.”
Wrexham
A small minority were concerned about the safety of the water over the long term and
some had worries about chemicals in the water.
“Britain’s drinking water is under threat from medicinal chemicals and cosmetic products
being flushed down the drains of millions of households.”
Cardiff
Theme: drinking water quality – fluoride page 64
Very few respondents knew whether or not their water was fluoridated. Some had heard about
it but had no certain information. Others had gathered some information but remained unsure
as to its merits or dangers and a few had heard worrying rumours.
“Do we need fluoride? Should I be filtering my water? I don't know.”
Wrexham
Stage Two & Three findings (informed - based on self-deliberation and research and
facilitated workshop discussion)
Theme: global warming page 68
For many climate change was a challenge to the whole nation, not just the water industry.
There were, as before, still some reservations as to its reality and causation. Most felt that the
water industry should prepare primarily for possible water shortages. A smaller number felt it
needed to address its own contribution to global warming.
There were many suggestions as to what the water industry should do.
“They should fix the leaks … and … pumps could be so old and inefficient that they are just
eating the fuel.”
Wrexham
“If we reduced all the leaks, then there would be less electricity used because there would be
no wastage of water …which would obviously be advantageous to global warming.”
Cardiff
Theme: drainage page 72
Deliberation increased awareness of other drainage issues such as run-off overloading the
sewers and impermeable surfaces preventing water returning to the water table.
In Wrexham there was awareness that removal of peat had caused flooding.
“We would like to see peat conservation and replacement. Peat used to be our natural
defences and they’ve dug all the peat up for agriculture and this creates flooding . . . and if

                                                31
they replaced the peat on the lands it might stop some of the flooding. Maybe from the water
company profits they could research this subject better.”
Wrexham
Theme: customer service page 73
Responses to complaints - and time taken - are not surprisingly highly salient.
“We’ve put in a complaint three or four times. The complaints are answered, and we do get a
comeback on it, but they are not sorted or not sorted in a reasonable amount of time.”
Wrexham
Theme: water conservation page 80
It was felt Companies or the Government should encourage individuals more with free hippos
and water butts. But some felt bullied by water companies and resented it.
“Why is it always us that’s got to sort out their problems? A lot of people do not think that the
water board are making the same effort as they expect us to.”
Wrexham
Theme: regulatory bodies and stakeholders page 84
Respondents were not, on the whole, reassured by the number of stakeholders. Overall it was
felt there were too many organisations.
“Why are there eight monitoring bodies responsible for water? Surely there must be an overlap
of responsibility amongst these authorities. A 50% reduction in these bodies would surely bring
about substantial savings which could then be invested into improving the system.”
Wrexham
Section for Wales Page 106: There was consistency across the whole sample and no significant
differences between England and Wales on all the key topics. The overall sample size is too
small to extrapolate numerical data with statistical significance from these respondents across
the whole of Wales.
Findings in Wales were similar to those in England. When water and sewerage services were
mentioned the most common initial responses were firstly, that the benefits are usually taken
for granted, and secondly references to leakage in the infrastructure. Overall respondents felt
they currently had reasonable or good value for money but were concerned lest prices should
rise further. Customers’ two main priorities were that companies
(i) reduce leakage and (ii) ensure that bills are, or remain, affordable.
After leakage and affordability, the next most important priorities were ensuring that the
drinking water remains safe to drink and ensuring there are adequate supplies for the future.
Overall there were no differences of opinion that correlated directly to socioeconomic
grouping. However those who were living on low-incomes, whether or not in work or retired,
tended to consider controlling prices considerably more important than any other issues.
Some respondents knew that Dwr Cymru, although profit-making, does not have shareholders
like English water companies and is run for the benefit of its customers. All respondents were
informed that Dwr Cymru has no shareholders and is a not-for-profit company and during the
deliberative period many visited the Dwr Cymru website. However confusion about the precise
structure of the business persisted.
A few in Cardiff had noted the dividend discount on their bills. The Dwr Cymru form of
ownership was, on the whole, felt to be a good thing, but it did not eliminate criticism from
those who felt their bills were too high, or that leakage rates were too high.
There was a certain amount of nationalism and pride in Welsh Water, however there was some
feeling that customers in Wales are being exploited as they believed that Birmingham and
other cities in England are supplied with water from Wales for which they pay less than Welsh
consumers pay for their water. This gave rise to two questions:
      Shouldn’t Dwr Cymru and Dee Valley Water get more for providing water to the English?
      How come the water we export is cheaper for the end users in England than it is for us?
There was a relatively high level of concern for the environment, particularly in Wrexham, but
several respondents also commented that the cleanliness of the rivers in the country was much
improved.
“The River Taff particularly, it is brilliant. … You can see the bottom going over Canton Bridge
and there are fish in there as well.”
Cardiff
As elsewhere, there were many customers satisfied with current service.

                                                32
“All my friends, and all of those I have spoken to and myself, have no complaints about our
local water company other than the cost.”
Wrexham
During the deliberative process respondents found out more about their water and sewerage
providers. Some respondents were reassured by the information they discovered.
 “Before I was very worried about my water quality but having done this research and phoning
Dee Valley I am very reassured.”
Wrexham
For others, more information about leakage reinforced their concerns.
“It was really shocking … the amount of water that we waste. The Consumer Council for Wales*
said on average it was 175.3 litres of leakage per property per day and that the Welsh Water
loses a leakage [of] enough to fill about 90 Olympic swimming pools everyday.”
Cardiff
* Sic: we believe this refers to a report from the Welsh Consumer Council dated 18/07/2005 and
published on their website.
Whilst many respondents did find out more, verifiable information during their deliberation,
some misconceptions did persist.
“If the water is cloudy it’s where it’s over-fluorided.”
Wrexham
We note also that the ownership structure of Welsh Water was admired by some respondents in
England.




                                                         33
Research report: Customers’ views on Ofwat’s Draft Determinations October 2009 Accent
Methodology - quantitative survey: 200 online and 45 Face to face interviews per WaSC and 100
online and 100 face to face interviews for each WoC . Dee Valley Water sample of 200 bill payers;
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water sample of 247 bill payers.
Key findings: overall 82% said the Draft Determination proposals were acceptable and 65% said
the changes would be affordable.
84% of customers in Wales said they thought the draft determination proposals were
acceptable and 54% thought the proposed prices for services were good value for money. This
compares favourably with views in England where 84% said they found the DDs acceptable and
55% thought the services were good value for money.
                                                          Dee      Dŵr     Wales      England
                                                         Valley   Cymru
                                                         Water    Welsh
                                                                  Water
How do you rate your current water and sewerage
                                                                   37%                   35%
services in terms of value for money? (WaSCs)
How do you rate your current water and sewerage          W 51%                         W 54%
service in terms of value for money? (WoCs)              S 50%                         S 46%
To what extent do you agree that your current water
                                                          63%      37%      49%          47%
and sewerage bill is affordable to you?

How acceptable do you think the proposed price
                                                          88%       81%      84%         81%
changes are for the water element of your bill?
How acceptable do you think the proposed price
                                                          90%       78%      84%         82%
changes are for the sewerage element of your bill?
Bearing in mind the investment and service levels that
go with this, how acceptable do you think this is         91%       79%      85%         84%
[combined proposed bill]

To what extent do you agree or disagree that the
                                                          78%       63%      71%         65%
proposed change [water bill] is affordable for you?
To what extent do you agree or disagree that the
                                                          79%       59%      69%         66%
proposed change [sewerage bill] is affordable for you?
Bearing in mind the investment and the service you
get for this, How do you rate the proposals for water
                                                          67%       46%      56%         55%
and sewerage services in terms of value for money?




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ANNEX 2

RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES
It is standard practice for CCWater research projects to include a sample of customers or
consumers from Wales unless the project is about an area related issue e.g. the floods which
took place in Hull in 2007. Depending on the research methodology used, these findings can
either be used as ‘anecdotal’ evidence or can be used as being representative of the views of
consumers/customers in Wales at national level.

Qualitative research
For qualitative projects involving focus groups, depending on the sample size required, at least
one focus group will take place in Wales. For this type of research the findings are reported as
quotes from focus groups which typically comprise 8 to 10 people, accompanied by a summary of
the views and attitudes derived from these.

These findings are indicative of trends in views and attitudes and depending on the issue being
researched; they can be relevant to the specific locality that the focus group is recruited from.
Focus group findings are not statistically speaking, representative of the general populations of
Wales (or of England) but give us an insight into why people think what they think. They can be
used as anecdotal evidence, to help inform the development of questionnaire surveys by
highlighting drivers which affect people’s views, or to help add insight to the findings of a
questionnaire survey.

Deliberative research is a form of qualitative research. It is used for complex topics and usually
consists of two or three stages. Stage one would be used to get people together in a focus
groups type environment to discuss an issue on an uninformed basis. This would be followed by
a one to two week gap where people would start to inform themselves in more detail about the
issues discussed at the focus group based on materials supplied at the focus group and their own
research on the internet, via newspapers, talking to friends and family etc. They would then
reconvene to look at the matter in a more considered and informed light.

Quantitative research
For large scale questionnaire surveys it is essential that the sample size will give us statistically
robust findings that are representative of different groups of customers or consumers. Based on
2001 census data, for a sample size of 1000 covering England and Wales, to be representative of
the respective populations the split would be 5% (50) of sample to Wales and 95% (950) to
England. However, a sample of 50 would not be a large enough sample for us to look at Wales
alone. Therefore, in CCWater research it is standard practice to boost sample sizes for Wales so
that we can drill down if necessary and ensure the findings are as statistically robust as possible.
For a sample size of 1000, this would mean 200 interviews in Wales, and 800 in England. At
water company level at least 200 interviews are required to enable comparisons to be made, so
for example if we wanted to compare the views of customers of Dee Valley Water to those of
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, we would need a minimum of 200 interviews for each company.

In terms of our research projects, the sample for Wales is usually taken from of Dŵr Cymru
Welsh Water so the findings can be seen alongside those for the other water and sewerage
companies in England.




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