Water company makes life easier

A WATER company has simplified advice and wording on application forms for claiming rebates after customers complained that the information was hard to understand and was hidden in its literature.

A WATER company has simplified advice and wording on application forms for claiming rebates after customers complained that the information was hard to understand and was hidden in its literature.

Anglian Water had been criticised after it introduced a charge for sewerage services in April 2000, which included a charge for surface water draining from properties into its sewerage system.

It acknowledged that surface water from many homes drained into soakaways, and not into its system, by including information in an accompanying leaflet advising customers that they could claim a rebate.

The annual standing charge for sewerage services is £40, of which £30 can be reclaimed if customers do not use the system for surface water discharge.


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However, customers found the instructions for claiming confusing and John Marsh, of Main Road, Martlesham, included a request for a "site plan" as proof of the claim.

He said this had led to many elderly customers not bothering to claim because they thought they would have to pay for professionals to draw up plans while actually all Anglian Water needed was a simple sketch of the location of soakaways.

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Mr Marsh was one of many customers who contacted the consumer watchdog Water Voice Eastern to query the system.

Glen Beaumont, assistant regional manager of Water Voice Eastern, said the issue of charging for surface water drainage was one of the most common causes of complaint the organisation received.

He said Water Voice had been negotiating with Anglian Water for some time to get the information and the application form made more prominent and simplified.

Ramani Vaheesan of Anglian Water, said a new form had now been designed and agreed with OFWAT. It has now been available to customers for the last two weeks.

She said the company received approximately received approximately 2,500 applications for rebate per month.

There had been 68,000 rebate claims since April 2000, of which 65,400 had been granted.

She said information about the rebate was included on the back of the company's annual bills as well as in its accompanying literature.

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