Customer engagement policy for PR24

What do customers want?

Most customers get no choice of who provides their water and wastewater services.

As such, water companies do not experience the same pressures to improve services and set value-for-money bills as businesses that operate in a competitive market place, such as supermarkets, airlines or cinemas.

Better understanding

Because of this, we expect water companies to listen carefully to their customers as they prepare plans and make business decisions on a day to day basis.

We expect companies’ plans to be shaped by what customers tell them about their experiences, needs and priorities for the future.

That’s why we indicated that a goal for the next price review (PR24) is to reflect a better understanding of customers and communities.

We’re hoping to further improve the quality of customer engagement, at the same time as enabling companies to figure out the best way to make sure that their plans are informed by what their customers say.

Collaborative customer research for PR24

For PR24, we are doing joint customer research with water companies and CCW: the current phase of research will be used to help set company performance incentives.

A later stage will reveal customers’ views of the affordability of each company’s PR24 business plan.


We’ve just published a paper which sets standards for high-quality research, customer challenge, and assurance of the quality and use of evidence from customer engagement.

Some companies have chosen to continue the customer challenge groups that we mandated for earlier price reviews: other companies are taking the opportunity to put in place customer challenge and assurance arrangements that will achieve the standards in other ways.

High-quality research should be:

Useful and contextualised, fit for purpose, neutrally designed, inclusive, continual, independently assured, shared in full with others and ethical.

Customer challenge arrangements should demonstrate:

Independence and board accountability.

…. and customer challenge should be:

Ongoing, informed, transparent, representative, comprehensive and timely.

Assurance of the quality and use of customer engagement should be:

Independent, transparent, expert, comprehensive and owned by company boards.

Next steps

We are continuing to work closely with CCW as they develop their role within each company’s customer challenge arrangements.

We’ll be looking at the quality of each company’s customer engagement and how they used this evidence when we assess company business plans at the end of 2023.