Bristol Water mid-year performance in 2018/19

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Security
of Supply
Index (SOSI)
Raw water
quality
Biodiversity
index
Population at risk
of asset failure
Turbidity at our
treatment works
Emergency
maintenance
Negative water
quality contacts
Customer contacts
about bills
Hosepipe ban
frequency
Percentage of customers
in water poverty
Low pressure
Customer water
consumption
Level of
metering
Customer satisfaction
with service
General satisfaction from surveys
Total carbon
emissions
Bursts
Waste disposal
compliance
Compliance with water
quality standards
Leakage
Supply interruptions
Ease of contact
from surveys
Value for money
Average water bill
  • Key:
  • Performance not on track to meet target
  • Performance not on track to meet target but within reference limitt
  • Performance on track to meet target
  • No Target

Average water bill

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2018/19:
185 £/ year

Definition

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As a water supplier to 1.2 million people, we are committed to providing our customers with an outstanding service in a sustainable and affordable way. We want to do the best for the environment and the local communities that we serve. Each year we set our charges, informed by the price controls that are determined every five year by the economic regulator of the water sector, Ofwat. Price controls were set for the period between 2015-2020 following reviews that started in 2014. Charges for our services are either based on how much water our customers use (for a metered charge) or the rateable value (RV) of their property (for an unmetered charge). Few customers have an average bill as many factors determine individual households’ bills. In addition, most customers will receive a combined water and sewerage bill – but the charge for the sewerage service reflects the levels set by Wessex Water. Comparing the average water bill level is however a useful tool for customers to benchmark our tariff charges against our performance and against the average charges and performance of other companies in the water sector.

Additional information

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Customers can compare our average annual water bill against other companies in the industry here.

Biodiversity index

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Mid-year actual:
17,657 Index points
Year-end target:
17,652 Index points
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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We monitor our protection and enhancement of the natural environment through an innovative approach that we have called the biodiversity index (this was introduced in 2014/15 as a new and innovative approach to protecting the environment).  This quantifies the environmental value of our sites and creates a "direction of travel" for the way we manage our assets, helping us to protect and enhance the natural environment by using the index to quantify the impact of our actions on the broader environment. It is measured by the cumulative hectares and meters of habitat (e.g. hedges) and the quality of this habitat.

Performance

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We are currently digitising our biodiversity records so that we can more easily monitor and plan our biodiversity activities in future years. However, it is not unusual at the mid-year to not have completed improvements in the biodiversity index compared to the previous reporting year because our improvements are usually undertaken over the winter when there is the least impact on wildlife, such as nesting birds. Improvements undertaken in previous years include:

  • Our hosting of the National Hedge laying Championships at Chew Valley Lake;
  • Working with partners, such as Natural England, schools and land owners, to create new habitat and improve biodiversity in areas surrounding the Southern Resilience Scheme pipework;
  • Removal of over-grown ditches and clearing up our reservoirs and embankments; and
  • Planting deciduous tree species at our pumping stations.

Bursts

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Mid-year actual:
488 Burst pipes
Year-end target:
950 Burst pipes (1,166 upper limit)
Year-end target on track?
No but within the upper limit

Definition

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This is the total number of burst pipes recorded in the year. A burst pipe is the most common cause of loss of water supply.

Performance

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Regrettably, burst main repair numbers continue to remain high, with the year to date figure around 35% above where we had targeted to be. There have been two significant weather events that have caused the high number of bursts. Following the cold spell in March there was a large number of burst mains to be located, which were detected and repaired over the first 3 months of the year. This was followed by the hot dry summer resulting in higher water demands and ground movement, which caused a large number of bursts to occur.

Additional information

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Further information on incidents going on in your area, including information on any burst mains, can be found here.

Customers can compare our performance on bursts against other companies in the industry here.

Compliance with water quality standards

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Also known as:

Mean zonal compliance (MZC)

Mid-year actual:
100%
Year-end target:
100%
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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Drinking water must meet strict standards that ensure it is safe to drink and the quality is acceptable to consumers. This is a water quality compliance measure based on a series of 39 parameters (e.g. levels of lead, nitrate levels etc.) determined by the Drinking Water Inspectorate. It is calculated based on sampling each parameter at supply points and customer taps in a number of specified zones.

Performance

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During the first six calendar months of 2018 we had no compliance sample failures. However, a sample taken in September at a household property had an odour problem, due to plumbing issues and our year-end forecast reflects the possibility of further incidents occurring (such as those associated with household plumbing fittings), which can be outside of our control.

Although we will not meet our target (100% compliance) our performance has been very encouraging and reflects the thorough and meticulous sampling schedule that our water quality scientists undertake.

Additional information

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Customers can learn more about the issues that may affect your water quality here.

Customers can compare our performance on water quality standards against other companies in the industry here.

Customer satisfaction with service

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Also known as:

Service incentive mechanism (SIM)

Mid-year actual:
84.6/100
Year-end target:
87.0/100
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This is the measure used by the economic regulator of the water sector, Ofwat, for comparing the customer service performance of water companies in England and Wales. It includes quantitative measures of the numbers of complaints and unwanted contacts that companies receive and performance in handling telephone contacts. It also includes a survey of customers’ views on the service provided.

Performance

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The long hot summer we experienced this year resulted in a number of customers having lower water pressure than they expected, often at peak demand times. This caused an increased level of customer contact and complaints. Although these were responded to and resolved, the problems our customers experienced still, understandably, impacted their views on our service quality. The impact of this and underperformance in other areas such as supply interruptions has continued to result in underperformance against our SIM target and against the high standards we set ourselves when dealing with customer queries.

Our satisfaction results from the SIM survey have highlighted that in addition to meeting our customer service commitments, we need to do more to respond to customer requests more quickly and to keep them informed of planned works. Since October we have introduced a dedicated customer care team responsible for tracking all customer requests, in order to improve this experience. We are also streamlining the information flow between our customer care and network operational teams, to improve the customer experience at every stage that their request is with us.

Additional information

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Customers can compare our performance on customer service against other companies in the industry here.

Ease of contact from surveys

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Mid-year actual:
92.3%
Year-end target:
96.5%
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This is the percentage of our customers who consider that we are easy to contact over the phone.

Performance

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Our performance has dropped over the summer months where we saw an increased level of contact due to service issues resulting from increased demand and increased burst pipes. This caused a large amount of contact about water pressure. Peak demand was often impacted customers at a similar time, so we had significant peaks in customer contact at the same times of the day, making it harder to respond to as we would normally do. We expect this number to improve as we have increased the resource in our contact centre and we are continually working on improvements to give our customers the answers they need as quickly as possible, such as improvements in how customers can contact us online.

Emergency maintenance

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Also known as:

Unplanned maintenance events

Mid-year actual:
1,674 Events
Year-end target:
3,976 Events
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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This metric records the total number of unplanned maintenance events occurring throughout the year, as a result of equipment failure or reduced asset performance.

Performance

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We use the information from the number of unplanned maintenance events to better understand our assets and help to implement appropriate measures to ensure reliability.  We have a long track record of outperforming our target and we are again forecasting to outperform our target for this measure, which is an encouraging indicator of the long-term health of our treatment works, pumping stations and service reservoirs.

Hosepipe ban frequency

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Mid-year actual:
n/a
Year-end target:
10.2 Days/ year
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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This measures the likelihood in any one year that temporary usage restrictions, such as on the use of hosepipes, will be implemented. It is reported as the number of expected days of restriction in the year. The commitment is based on the assumption that a restriction would last for five months (153 days), and that we have a one-in-fifteen year probability of an interruption: 153 / 15 = 10.2 expected days.

Performance

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This measure is based on annual calculations but we are confident about our future performance; we can predict that for the fourth consecutive year, we will be able to report that our hosepipe ban risk frequency is better than our target. In fact by the end of this reporting year it will have been 29 years since we last introduced a hosepipe ban (in 1990).

Additional information

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Further information on implementing temporary use bans (including hosepipe bans) and the risk of a drought, can be found on our website here.

Leakage

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Mid-year actual:
42.2 Megalitres/ day
Year-end target:
44.0 Megalitres/ day
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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Water is supplied to customers’ homes through thousands of kilometres of underground pipes. For various reasons, including ground movement and degradation of materials, pipes can leak and some water is lost between the treatment works and the home.  This measure is the amount of water that enters the distribution system but is not delivered to customers because it is lost from either the company’s or customers’ pipes.

Performance

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We are on track to hit our leakage target at the end of the year. The combination of targeted investment in our network, improved monitoring and control, and our proactive approach to leakage management and leakage reduction initiatives, such as pressure management, continues to see us actively working to reduce actual leakage levels further. We have this year increased our leakage detection resource by 15 additional inspectors. This is likely to place our leakage reduction activities in the top quartile of performance in the industry by the end of the year and ensure that we will have reduced leakage by 12% between 2015 and 2020.

Additional information

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Customers can compare our performance on leakage against other companies in the industry here.

Level of metering

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Also known as:

Meter penetration

Mid-year actual:
54.5%
Year-end target:
62.5%
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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As you should only pay for what you use, many people regard water meters as the fairest way to charge for your water services. We encourage our customers to be more efficient in the way they use water by increasing the number of household customers who are billed based on their actual water consumption. We measure this by meter penetration, expressed as the percentage of household customers who have a water meter installed at their property.

Performance

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In comparison to other areas in England and Wales, Bristol Water customers are not in a ‘serious water stressed’ area. We know from engagement activities with our customers that on the whole they do not wish to see full compulsory metering introduced and we do not have plans to introduce such a programme. Metering is therefore dependent on customers opting to have a metering, or metering properties when occupancy changes.

Meter installations continue to be behind target, as we continue to catch up following lower than anticipated installations in the first three years of the reporting period. Our dedicated project, “Meter 66”, is providing the increased focus that delivering our challenging metering target for the next eighteen months requires. In order to meet our commitment to install approximately over 72,700 meters by 2020, we now have action plans in place to install circa 1,000 meters per month and to install meters at 6,000 void properties. We plan on meeting these targets through targeted initiatives, such as our ‘Beat the Bill’ campaign, which started in October 2017, with the aim to help customers reduce the amount of water they use. Since its launch, customers have saved as much as £100 a year and it has helped us find several leaks on customers’ supply pipes. We also offer a range of free water saving products that could help our customers maximise the money they can save.

Additional information

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Customers can find out more information on applying for a water meter here.

Low Pressure

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Mid-year actual:
73 Properties at risk of receiving low pressure
Year-end target:
69 Properties at risk of receiving low pressure
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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Water pressure determines the water that comes out of our customer's taps. This is measured as the total number of properties in our supply area which, at the end of the year, have received, and are likely to continue to receive, water pressure below the minimum required level.

Performance

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Additional properties at risk of low pressure have been identified in Kingswood, Glastonbury and Frome in the last six months. Identifying new properties at risk can arise as a consequence of our proactive monitoring of our network or as a consequence of poor pressure complaints raised by customers. Our remedial works program will drive down the number of properties at risk of receiving low pressure by the end of the year. We have a number of schemes planned, including:

  • Replacing pipes that are currently supplying a small block of flats;
  • Separating twelve properties from being supplied via one connection; and
  • Also separating three properties from being supplied via one connection.

Additional information

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Customers can compare our performance on low water pressure against other companies in the industry here.

Customer contacts about bills

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Also known as:

Negative billing contacts

Mid-year actual:
849 Contacts/ year
Year-end target:
2,240 Contacts/ year
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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This is how we measure the number calls we have received that a customer would prefer not to make, in the sense that they are dissatisfied because they are experiencing a problem or concern, are making a repeat or chase call, or want to complain.

Performance

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We are pleased to report that our mid-year position reflects an improving trend in this area; the year on year performance of customers having to contact us is improving. This is a positive in that our customers are clearly having less need to contact us, suggesting that they are satisfied with the responses we give to them.

Additional information

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Customers can find out more information on their water bill here and further information about online billing here.

Negative water quality contacts

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Mid-year actual:
1,473 Contacts/ year
Year-end target:
2,275 Contacts/ year
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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It is important that our water not only meets stringent standards but is also good to drink. We know that the taste and appearance of our customers' tap water is something which they value highly. We therefore measure the total number of customer contacts (telephone, letter and email) about the appearance, taste and odour of the water for the previous calendar year.

Performance

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We are pleased to report that based on our performance to date, we will meet our target for this year, as we have done in previous years. The overall number of customer contacts about water quality has however increased, compared to last year. This increase is associated with an increased activity on the mains network due to the following:

  • Contacts about the appearance of the water are commonly associated with the suspension of iron particles in water mains due to a change in flow or pressure i.e. a disturbance of the water main. During 2018 activity on the network has increased, with the 'Beast form the East'; causing a significant increase in bursts requiring repair. Put simply, contacts about water quality are to be expected when bursts occur, as the re-routing of water, to ensure a continuous supply of water to our customers, can have a short-term impact on the appearance of the water that comes out of your tap; and
  • Our increased activities in reducing leakage, which had a similar effect to the approach to fixing bursts.

Additional information

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Customers can learn more about the issues that may affect your water quality here.

Customers can compare our performance on appearance contacts against other companies in the industry here and our performance on taste/odour contacts against other companies in the industry here.

Percentage of customers in water poverty

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Mid-year actual:
n/a
Year-end target:
1.9%
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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This measure is defined as the percentage of customers within our supply area for whom their water bill represents more than 2% of their disposable income, defined as gross income less income tax. This measure allows us to understand the impact of our bills on our customers. To calculate this we use a population analytics model to estimate the gross percentage of customers in water poverty, and then deduct those customers who we support through our Assist social tariff.

Performance

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This measure is based on annual calculations, so it is not possible to calculate performance at this time. In the first six months of 2018/19 we have accepted a further 826 customers onto our social tariffs, mainly through increased promotion and take-up of our Pension Credit tariff. We currently support 11,946 customers through our social tariffs. We have also accepted a further 58 customers onto WaterSure plus in 2018/19, taking the total number of customers on the scheme to 2,645. We are committed to ensuring that those who struggle to pay will be given the help they need. In particular, we are able to offer the following social tariffs:

  • Our ‘Assist’ social tariff, which offers significant bill discounts to those customers least able to afford their bill, following a means assessment.
  • Our WaterSure Plus metered tariff, for customers in receipt of certain benefits and are defined by the government as ‘vulnerable’, either because they have a medical condition or a large family.
  • Our Pension Credit social tariff, which gives a 20% discount on water bills to customers who live in a household where all members over the age of 18 are in receipt of Pension Credit

Additional information

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Customers can find further information and support on the range of social tariffs we have available on our website here.

Customer water consumption

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Also known as:

Per capita consumption (PCC)

Mid-year actual:
161.4 Litres/ person/ day
Year-end target:
142.8 Litres/ person/ day
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This is how we measure how much water our customers use every year. It is defined as the average amount of water used by each person each day. By knowing this information, the intention is to encourage behaviours to reduce the amount of water we use, thereby helping customers save money for the future and further adapt to the challenges of climate change.

Performance

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Our forecast performance, although disappointing, is not surprising. The hot and dry period in May, followed by a long hot spell in June and July with no rainfall meant that customers used more water than usual.

We continue to support customers reduce water wastage through a number of means. These include:

  • The continued provision of free water efficiency equipment
  • The continued provision of bespoke water efficiency calculations through our website to empower customers to understand their usage and advice on how to become more efficient
  • Developing new partnerships with stakeholders across our region to create new and innovative ways to help customers to become more resource efficient
  • Developing our evidence base and research programme on the most effective water efficiency measures
  • Continuing and expanding our school education programme
  • Working with the industry to share experience and knowledge and lead development of initiatives like the water label
  • Working with retailers to help their non-household customers to use water efficiently
  • The installation of free water fountains in the centre of Bristol and offering access to a ‘water bar’ at local festivals and events, to help promote the benefits of using water wisely.
  • Water efficiency is closely linked to metering and we are implementing an ambitious programme to meter 65.9% of domestic properties by 2020.

Additional information

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Customers can compare our performance on the average amount of water used by each household each day against other companies in the industry here.

Further information on reducing water consumption, including on finding our more about our wide range of free water saving products, that could help customers save money, can be found here.

Population at risk of asset failure

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Also known as:

Population in centres >25,000 at risk from asset failure

Mid-year actual:
Southern Resilience Scheme completed - 9,063 People at risk
Year-end target:
9,063 People at risk
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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We aim to provide a resilient supply of water to our customers, all year round. A resilient supply means that we are able to cope with extreme or unusual events, and this is measured by the number of people at risk from the failure of a single source above ground asset, such as a treatment is unable to operate or a contaminated source (in supply areas of more than 25,000 consumers).

Performance

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The £27 million Southern Resilience Scheme was completed in March 2018 and has provided improved security of supply to over 280,000 customers. The Scheme comprises 30km of large diameter mains and a new pumping station. It provides the capability to transfer water between three of Bristol Water'™s larger treatment works ensuring enhanced security of supply should any one of them be out of service for an extended period of time. Put simply, it means if there is an emergency we can get customers'™ water back into supply more quickly.

Since commissioning it has been utilised to ensure continued supply to customers in the Weston Super Mare and Cheddar areas. An additional benefit to our customers is enhanced security of supply by having the ability to conserve resources such as Chew Valley Lake and Blagdon Lakes during extended hot, dry periods, such as were experienced this summer. The scheme will also help us meet the increase in demand for water over the coming years. Weston-Super-Mare is one of Europe'€™s fastest growing towns, and we need to supply all of the new residents and businesses coming to the area.

Raw water quality

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Also known as:

Raw water quality of sources

Mid-year actual:
-16%
Year-end target:
+/-<+10%
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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The quality of our water sources, particularly in the Mendip lakes, can be impacted due to nutrients and sediment that can enter the watercourses from land and activities in the catchment area of the source.  This is an assessment of the quality of our raw water sources that are at risk of deterioration due to increased levels of pesticides and nutrients in their catchments. This is measured as the percentage of the previous reporting period’s baseline aggregate of algal bloom frequency.

Performance

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We have seen an unusually warm and dry year; normally dry, sunny and warm summer weather would be ideal conditions for algal blooms. However, the mid-year numbers show an improving position (by reducing algal bloom frequency), which suggests that our catchment management initiatives have been much more successful than expected in improving water quality. It is therefore encouraging that the reduction in algal blooms that has taken place in our reservoirs is likely to continue in future years. This means that water will not be as expensive to treat as would have been the case had algal bloom frequency continue to increase as it did in the previous reporting period.

Additional information

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Customers can find further information on our catchment management initiatives here.

Satisfaction from surveys

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Mid-year actual:
n/a
Year-end target:
93%
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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This measure relates to the percentage of customers responding to our annual satisfaction survey who rate their satisfaction in respect of our service as excellent, very good or good. This is different from our other customer measures as most of the customers surveyed will not have had direct contact with us, apart from receiving their annual bill.

Performance

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This measure is based on annual calculations. Despite the challenging target, we are continuing to improve upon our performance year on year. In addition, results from the UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI) are very positive and rank us as the top performing water company. The UKCSI is a way in which we can benchmark ourselves against other industries to ensure that our customers are receiving the best service both inside and outside of the water sector.

Security of Supply Index (SOSI)

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Mid-year actual:
n/a
Year-end target:
100 Index points
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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One of our customers’ most important requirements is an unrestricted water supply. Our performance of this is measured by the frequency of supply restrictions during periods of water shortages, known as the ‘security of supply index’ (SOSI). This takes into account the supply of water that we have available and the demand from our customers, calculated as the proportion of dry weather demand that can be met by the water available for use. If a score of less than 100 is calculated, this would indicate that there is a higher risk of water use restrictions for our customers in that year.

Performance

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This measure is based on annual calculations but we are confident about our future performance; we have reported a SOSI value of 100 for every year to date in this reporting period, indicating a sufficient supply with no restrictions during dry weather. This is due to our effective planning to ensure that available supply meets demand.

Supply interruptions

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Also known as:

Unplanned customer minutes lost

Mid-year actual:
9.8 Mins/ property/year
Year-end target:
12.5 Mins/ property/year
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This measures the total number of minutes that customers have been without a supply of water in the year, through unplanned interruptions, divided by the total number of properties served by the company in the year. Keeping water flowing is an essential part of our role as a water company and by using this measurement we aim to minimise supply interruptions to our customers.

Performance

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Our mid-year performance has been impacted by two significant weather events. We started this reporting year with an increased number of burst pipes associated with the extreme cold and snow from the '˜Beast from the East' followed by a rapid thaw. The summer was then unusually dry, which led to increased bursts from ground movement and increased demand. We are improving the speed of our response to supply interruptions, and investing further in our network monitoring and operational response in order to reduce the impact of burst pipes on our customers.

Additional information

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Further information on the Willsbridge burst was included in our Mid-Year Performance Report which can be found here.

Customers can compare our performance on supply interruptions against other companies in the industry here.

Total carbon emissions

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Mid-year actual:
15Kg/CO2e/ person
Year-end target:
22Kg/CO2e/ person
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This represents the total carbon emissions produced by the Company and contractors working on our behalf. We calculate our carbon emissions through the electrical energy we use in our operations, our consumption of gas and the fuel we use for transport, plant operation and site heating. This equals our annual operational greenhouse gas emissions, based on the Carbon Accounting Workbook and is expressed in kilograms of CO2 (carbon dioxide) equivalent divided by the population supplied.

Performance

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We are proud that our overall energy management is accredited to the ISO50k1 standard. Our performance for this metric is however largely driven by the UK Emissions factor for electricity not meeting the government's own predictions.

Energy consumption has been high during the first six months of this reporting year due to the dry summer, which has led to a requirement for increased abstraction from the rive Severn at our Purton site. We however are continuing to develop and implement a programme of improvements. Projects currently in progress for this reporting period include:

  • The roll out of an automated pump scheduling system that will look to optimise individual pumps, pump-sets and whole source selection;
  • Installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) at our key sites (an energy system designed to transform the energy from the sun into electricity via the use of solar panels); and
  • Installation of a gas powered generator at Purton Treatment Works.

Additional information

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Customers can compare our performance on operational greenhouse gas emissions against other companies in the industry here.

Turbidity at our treatment works

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Mid-year actual:
0 Incidents
Year-end target:
0 Incidents
Year-end target on track?
Yes

Definition

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Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water, normally caused by suspended minerals. It is an important water quality control parameter at our water treatment works. Factors such as turbidity affect the effectiveness of disinfection.

Performance

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Water quality is at the heart of our monitoring and maintenance of our treatment works, to ensure high standards are maintained in our assets. We have a long track record of achieving zero turbidity events and we are forecasting to again be successful in ensuring consistently good treated water enters our supply system.

Additional information

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Customers can learn more about the issues that may affect your water quality here.

Value for money

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Mid-year actual:
68%
Year-end target:
72%
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This measure relates to the percentage of customers who consider that we provide good value for money.

Performance

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Our performance this year has dipped as a result of increased customer contacts due to service issues during the dry, hot summer months. As this impacted the time taken to respond to queries, we understand that this has impacted our customers’ views on our performance. We are continuously reviewing all causes of customer dissatisfaction and this has helped us to find areas that we can improve on, such as the introduction of real time feedback, ‘Live Chat’, a redesign of our bill and the increased use of social media to keep customers informed of incidents and planned works. The measures we are taking to improve overall affordability across our entire customer base involve:

  • Finding efficiencies by improving our digital offering and leveraging new technologies to reduce our cost to serve;
  • Continuing to refine our processes for bad debt reduction; and Helping customers find ways to reduce their own bills through reducing their consumption.

Waste disposal compliance

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Mid-year actual:
98%
Year-end target:
100%
Year-end target on track?
No

Definition

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This measures our percentage compliance as per by the number of samples taken of discharged trade effluent from designated Company sample points that meet the consent requirements in the Environment Agency permits.

Performance

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We have unfortunately failed to achieve our target for this measure in recent years. We are also forecasting deterioration in our performance due to the introduction of a new discharge consent (which came into force from 1 February 2018) that we now have in place for the fisheries at Blagdon. We are working with the Environment Agency to assess how to measure the environmental need at this site, which has not had a discharge consent for historic reasons. In the short term, we anticipate that the introduction of this new consent will mean that the number of failures will increase due to seasonal changes in quality in Blagdon reservoir, even though improvements at other major treatment sites such as Purton have reduced the number of failures elsewhere.

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