We’re approaching the end of another year on a high note, celebrating market-leading performance, championing and protecting our customers, supporting charities, empowering young people for success, and surpassing 20,000 Trustpilot reviews.
Let’s take a look back at the highlights from 2023!
Keeping the trust of our customers
Last week, we extended our heartfelt appreciation to our customers for continuing to share your insightful feedback so we can continue to improve our service for you. A whopping 20,000 customers have taken time to share a review of our service on Trustpilot.
John Reynolds, CEO of Castle Water said of the milestone, “It is a reflection of the confidence our customers have in us. We listen to customer feedback to gain a greater understanding of what our customer’s need and the challenges they face, and with that insight we enhance our services to make their working lives easier and cheaper water bills more attainable. We’re switching on even more online self-service options so our customers can get answers and complete tasks with us quicker than ever before.”
Fairer prices, honesty and transparency
Caste Water is distinguished within the market not only as a market leader, but as an independent retailer. This means Castle Water is not tied to any of the water wholesalers. Castle Water has long leveraged this position to fight for fairer pricing and regulations for its customers while offering exceptional customer care.
In January, Castle Water processed goodwill payments to over 750 customers who were identified by South East Water as having been affected by supply interruptions caused by extreme weather. Given the circumstances of the interruptions, the payments were not due under Ofwat’s Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS), and the loss of water supply is the responsibility of the wholesaler. The goodwill payments were added by Castle Water to the accounts of affected customers within 2 days.
“Are you paying a fair price for your water?” This was the question asked of UK businesses by John in February, after it was revealed by Ofwat that it was taking action against 5 retailers for over-charging customers. We estimated that the scandal could affect customers of retailers supplying 50% of businesses in the UK. It was later revealed in March that the retailers in question are Everflow, Wave, Business Stream, Water Plus and SES Water. These companies were over-charging customers by misrepresenting the Retail Exit Code (REC), leading to a 3-year period of overcharging spanning from April 2020 to March 2023. Refunds to affected customers now total more than £380,000.
Castle Water complies with all pricing regulation and our fixed charges are in some cases 80% lower than other water retailers. As shown on our bills, and our online quotes, we ensure all our customers can understand the unit rates being charged.
Outperforming the competition
We’ve never stopped making improvements to our services. Customer feedback tells us that UK businesses want faster access to our services online and cheaper bills. We’re switching on more online self-service options to make that possible, and we’re further supporting our customers with practical ways to keep water bills low. In 2023, our blog delivered digestible advice to customers about how to lower water consumption and become more sustainable for the planet and for your bottom line. Our seasonal how-to guides help keep our customers in-the-know when it comes to frozen pipes and checking for leaks.
In December, water market operator MOSL confirmed that Castle Water is outperforming other major water retailers on key meter reading tasks. Castle Water’s remarkable 96% success rate in meter reading tasks surpasses other major retailers like Scottish Water Business Stream (85%), Wave, and WaterPlus. Furthermore, MOSL’s “Holistic Reporting” ranked Castle Water above other major national business water retailers with a score of over 94%. This achievement is particularly noteworthy considering the logistical complexities in areas like Greater London, where water wholesalers face some of the lowest metering performance metrics in the country.
With an impressive 16,104 5-star customer reviews on Trustpilot, Castle Water has more 5-star reviews than all other water retailers combined. Upon celebrating review number 20,000, John said, “it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team at Castle Water, our incredible Customer Service departments and advisors, and not forgetting our brilliant field team of meter readers. Their commitment to excellence is the driving force behind our success.”
Protecting your right to a fair and transparent contract
Transparency starts ate the very beginning of the customer journey with Castle Water, from your instant online quote, to the switching processes and beyond. Ever wondered how water rates are worked out? You can find the answers here. Our bill explainer makes it easy to understand your water bill so you can check to make sure its correct. We encourage all businesses to read reviews and trust your instincts when choosing their suppliers. In November, we supported customers to cancel erroneous transfer or switch back to us following being mis-sold expensive new business water contracts with hidden charges. Many of our small business customers had contacted us for help after being switched to another supplier without proper consent, and in some cases fraudulent Direct Debits had been set up with the new retailer.
Castle Water defends your right to a fair and transparent contract and we’ll never mis-sell or pressure sell its services. Find out how to protect your business against erroneous transfers here.
Supporting local events and charities while reducing single use plastic
This year we kept charity events refreshed and hydrated, all while reducing single-use plastic. For the 5th year running, Castle Water returned as sponsors of the Cateran Yomp in June, an endurance event that raises money for ABF The Soldier’s Charity. We provided fresh drinking water stations at the main event hub in Blairgowrie, water stops along the 54-mile route, and the the water for the showers.
In August, we sponsored the 2023 Bowls Scotland National Championships providing fresh drinking water stations across the venue, allowing participants to fill their reusable water bottles. Bowls Scotland CEO, Alan McMillan, said, “This new initiative helped reduce the number of single-use water bottles used throughout our weeklong event. As Bowls Scotland are committed to reducing our waste and carbon emissions we are excited to be working collaboratively with a company such as Castle Water who are committed to delivering a high quality and sustainable service to Bowling Clubs and Businesses across Scotland.”
In September, Team Castle Water returned to the Business Fives Tayside charity football event. Our team emerged victorious claiming the not only the highly sought-after Europa Conference League Trophy, but also securing them the title of the event’s top fundraiser for the charity MS Society. The team dedicated their fundraising efforts to their colleague Tracy, who had recently been diagnosed with MS. In a bid to demonstrate that anyone can overcome life’s obstacles, Tracy, along with the Legal Team, embarked on a remarkable journey by climbing the Scottish Munro, Schiehallion, on Saturday 16 September. Their determination was not only an inspiration but also a reminder that with unwavering support and determination, people can conquer even the most formidable challenges.
In December, we donned our craziest Christmas jumpers and tried our hands at creating star bakes, raising money for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day. This year our team raised £418 for the cause.
Empowering young people and kickstarting careers
Delivering initiatives that enhance and enrich the education and career opportunities for young people provides an extra spark of inspiration and motivation for everyone at Castle Water. Through our commitment to Developing the Young Workforce and our strong connections with local schools and Universities, Castle Water invests time, resources and training to champion young people striving for success, including Sales Graduate Hollie, and Marketing Assistant Lana Bain.
In September, we returned as sponsors of the Dundee Chamber of Commerce Business Champion Awards. Sponsoring the Future Skills Award for the second year running, we were impressed by the finalists’ commitment to skill development and community engagement. David Bain, Castle Water’s Director of Digital and Marketing, expressed his pride in being a part of this exceptional event, saying, “We’re support businesses that strive for success and make a positive difference in our communities… and we are inspired by the remarkable achievements of the High School of Dundee and all the finalists.”
This year, we partnered with Dundee University to offer Graduate Apprenticeships. Any of our team who have completed a Modern Apprenticeship can apply for a Graduate Apprenticeship. A fully funded programme, participants spend 4 days a week working at Castle Water and one day a week at the University. After four years the Graduate will be awarded the same honors degree as someone studying fulltime.
Furthering our commitment to connecting young people to jobs and opportunities, we were proud to announce our pledge to the Young Person’s Guarantee in November. Claire Easy, HR Director for Castle Water said, “We understand the importance of offering a variety of routes to help people begin their journey in a career that they will genuinely love and thrive in. Partnering with the Young Person’s Guarantee will help us to connect more people to our offering including dynamic Modern Apprenticeships and internships.”