Monday 22 December 2014

Irish Water complaints data to be made public

Published 01/09/2014 | 02:30

Water meters being fitted at Ardeevin Court in Lucan. Picture:Arthur Carron
Water meters being fitted at Ardeevin Court in Lucan. Picture:Arthur Carron

Irish Water will be publicly shamed if it fails to provide a high standard of customer service, the water regulator has revealed.

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) plans to publish data on complaints and compliance with quality standards when the utility company is fully up and running next year.

Some 1.3 million households will begin paying for their water from October 1, with bills to arrive the following January.

In advance of charges coming into force, the CER has outlined a number of customer service levels which must be achieved by Irish Water - including a requirement to notify customers if they are going to be cut off for more than 24 hours and a requirement to pay €10 to customers if it fails to deal with complaints promptly.

Stringent

Documents seen by the Irish Independent show that the regulator plans to publish data which will "transparently and objectively" demonstrate if Irish Water is performing in the "key areas" of customer service.

The data will include details on the number of complaints, how they are handled and the issues raised by customers.

In addition, there will be information on customers in arrears, the number on payment plans because they cannot afford their bills and data on the number of people who have their supply reduced due to non-payment.

Additional information will also be available from the Environmental Protection Agency in the event of supplies becoming unsafe to drink or failing to meeting stringent quality standards. And the regulator has also revealed plans to change its name to reflect its dual role as watchdog of the energy and water sectors.

A spokesman said the move would require new legislation and that it would only pursue a low-cost option which did not involve spending on advertising or marketing.

Irish Independent

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