How to make a complaint

Here you can find how to make a operational and billing complaint, and what our procedures are.

How to make a complaint

We're sorry you feel like you have to make a complaint. Once we receive it, we get our top Customer Experience team on the case to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Please choose whether you want to make a complaint about operations (your water supply) or billing (moving house, your bill, or your meter). The best way to resolve your complaint is by calling us and talking to our experts in customer services.

Our operational complaints process

Stage 1

If you have a complaint about your water supply and you contact us by telephone, we’ll try to resolve it immediately for you. If it isn’t possible for you to call us, you can use any of our other channels available.

If we can’t resolve your issue right away, we aim to resolve it within five working days. However, if it requires more investigation we’ll make sure we respond to you within ten working days from the date you contact us. We will be clear with you on the timescales of when we expect to resolve your complaint.

If we fail to respond within ten working days, you’ll automatically receive a payment under our customer charter the Bristol Water Promise. You can find out about our Customer Promise commitments.

Stage 2

If you’re unhappy with our initial response and ask for it to be reviewed by a manager, we will respond to you within ten working days of receiving this contact from you.

Within eight weeks of us receiving your complaint, we will either be able to resolve your complaint, or advise you that we’re still not in a position to issue our final response. We will tell you why this is, and also when we expect to be able to do so.

In both of these cases we will tell you how you can contact CCW if you are unhappy with our response, or if you do not want to wait beyond the 8 week time limit.

Consumer Council for Water (CCW)

If you are still not happy with our response to your complaint, you can refer the matter to CCW. This is the statutory independent body that represents the interests of water consumers and helps resolve customers’ complaints. CCW will look at the facts relating to your complaint and may act on your behalf either through mediation or by investigating your complaint. Where appropriate, they may ask us to take action to resolve the issue.

Water Redress Scheme (WATRS)

If you are still not happy with the response to your complaint, you can refer the matter to WATRS. It is an independent and impartial adjudication service that is free for you to use and has the authority to make decisions that we have to comply with Disputes handled by the Water Services.

Regulation Authority (OFWAT)

In some cases, OFWAT has a statutory duty to investigate complaints and determine the outcome. This typically relates to complaints of a technical or legal nature. CCW normally refers any such complaints that it receives to OFWAT.


In some cases, it may be appropriate to use an arbitrator to resolve a complaint. We can provide more information about which disputes may be appropriate for arbitration. Alternatively, CCW can advise you about this.

Operational complaints process-1

Our billing complaints process

What to do if you have a complaint

The quickest way for us to put things right is to call us and speak to one of our friendly team and let them know what has happened. We will listen to your issue, if we have done something wrong we'll apologise and try and resolve your issue immediately, however if we can't we’ll aim to respond to you within five working days.

If we fail to respond within 10 working days, you may be entitled to compensation under our customer promise. 

If you'd like us to review our response to your complaint

If you are not happy with the response, you can request for your complaint to be reviewed by a senior manager.

CCW -The voice for water consumers

If you remain unhappy following our review or your complaint has still not been resolved within eight weeks, you can ask CCW to help you. This independent body represents the interests of water and sewerage customers and has legal duties for dealing with customer complaints. It will look at the facts relating to your case and take the matter up with us on your behalf. This service is free of charge.

WATRS, the Water Redress Scheme

If your complaint remains unresolved after it has gone through all the stages of our complaints procedure and has been reviewed by CCW, you might want to consider asking WATRS for their help. They will provide an independent
binding decision.

Disputes handled by the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat)

Some types of complaint need to be dealt with by Ofwat, rather than CCW. These include: water/sewerage companies' powers to lay pipes on private land and concerns water companies are breaking their license conditions.


In some cases, you will have the legal right to refer your dispute to arbitration, which means bringing in someone else to settle this. Matters that may be suitable are:

  • Positioning of our water meters
  • compensation for street works
  • disputes about the installation of water fitting (prevention of contamination)

For more details about arbitration, contact your local office of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Some helpful contacts


Address: Customer Services, BWBSL, 1 Clevedon Walk, Nailsea, BS48 1WA
Call: 0345 600 3600 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm)


Address: Customer Services, Bristol Water plc, Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS13 7AT
Call: 0345 702 3797 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm. Emergency service at all other times)

If you’re on social media, you can also reach us on Twitter and Facebook.


Address: CCW, 23 Stephenson Street, Birmingham, B2 4BH
Call: 0300 034 2222

If CCW thinks your complaint is justified, we will be asked to take the
appropriate action to put things right.


Address: WATRS, International Dispute Resolution Centre, 70 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1EU
Call: 0207 520 3801