Complaints trickle in to water company

Great Western Water (GWW) saw more than 80 complaints from customers in its western region – which includes Sunbury – in the six months to December 2023.

A spokesperson for the firm says regional managers received 11 complaints about the taste and odour of its water, and 81 about its colour.

“This happens when we switch water sources and does not have any health implications,” says a GWW spokesperson.

The company’s target is to receive less than two complaints per 1,000 customers, it received 1.1. The firm states in its six monthly report – which covers both western and central regions to December 2023 – that the volume of complaints led to “reduced customer satisfaction, as our response times were slower than usual”.

The company states that while some customers experienced a high number of unplanned outages “…no customer experienced more than five in a year”. It also states the average time taken to restore water interruptions was “longer than expected due to several complex bursts”.

The company provides customers who experience more than five unplanned interruptions a year with a payment for the lower level of service.

The average time taken by the firm to clear sewage blockages and spills in the western region fell from 1hr 47m to 1hr 28m during 2022 and 2023. However, the number of sewer spills according to its report was above its target.

When it comes to water charges, the firm says average residential annual bills in the western region rose from $1,102 in 2022 to $1,179 in 2023. An increase of almost 7.1%.

The firm says it is:

  • Improving the appearance of drinking water through targeted pipe flushing
  • Increasing meter replacement to prevent water loss from its network
  • Implementing a new billing and payment system

GWW, which had revenue of $931 million in the 2022-2023 financial year, and made a profit of $64 million, has postponed promotion of its online services while it builds a new billing and payments system.

The company is investing in water and sewerage infrastructure, treatment, system renewals and technologies in an upgrade plan that’s due to be completed in 2028.

Data and graphic / Great Western Water (March 2024).