BARWON Water is again supporting more of its customers than any other water corporation in the state, according to the latest figures from the Essential Services Commission (ESC).
The commission’s Annual Water Performance Report, released last month, showed Barwon Water provided, for the second consecutive year, the highest number of hardship grants to customers experiencing financial difficulty.
The report, which details the performance of 16 Victorian water corporations, showed Barwon Water reported 1.57 grants awarded per 100 customers in 2019-20, and that the value of those grants more than doubled.
Barwon Water general manager customers and community, Jo Murdoch, said 2020 had posed many challenges for the community, and she was pleased Barwon Water could support people experiencing financial hardship through its Customer Support Program.
“Everyone who needs help receives it from us. We have dedicated support staff to help customers get the assistance they need, especially those who may be experiencing financial difficulty for the first time.
“Barwon Water has a range of easy-to-access programs and support services that can ease the pressure and stress for customers having difficulty paying their bill. This includes help with concession card discounts, access to government relief and rebate schemes, payment grants, plans and extensions and referral to financial counselling.”
She said the Barwon Water team was proactively contacting customers to let them know about the support available to help them through this difficult period.
“For some customers, this is the first time they have needed our help and they appreciate hearing from us.”
The ESC report also mentioned Barwon Water as “standing out as one of the highest rated businesses, placing either first, second or third for its 2020 average score” in the areas of reputation, trust, value for money and overall performance.
It rated Barwon Water’s Customer Contact Centre – whose staff have been working from home since March – as the best in Victoria for the third year running. This was based on results of statewide customer perception surveys undertaken quarterly measuring things such as ease of service, sentiment and success.
The report also noted water quality complaints were extremely low, with about 0.4 complaints per 100 customers; Victorians used less water on average this year; and bills remained steady overall.