Thames Water said it has engaged with a “record” one million customers to help develop its business plan for 2020-25, which will be unveiled next week (3 September).

Water companies have one week left to finalise their business plans ready to submit to Ofwat as part of the price review process for PR19.

Thames started to engage with its customers nearly three years ago on topics that included customer service, leaks, wastewater and bills, the company said.

Customers want the water company to tackle leakage and reduce sewer flooding incidents, treat them as individuals and be a responsible, transparent business.

Thames said it wanted to “understand as much as possible” about these and other issues of concern “as early as possible” to shape the plan from the beginning.

It has gathered feedback from all groups through a variety of channels to get an accurate picture of the company’s diverse customer base across the region it operates in.

Thames engaged with customers through surveys, text messages, online and face-to-face. It interacted with groups including high usage and small businesses, developers, customers in vulnerable circumstances, different age groups, low income and those from various faith groups.

Steve Robertson, chief executive of Thames Water, said: “We’d like to thank the record-breaking number of people who have helped us shape our five-year plan.

“Our proposals are a true reflection of what our customers have told us they want to see and we appreciate all the time they’ve taken to give us their opinions and advice.”

Thames Water used “innovative” techniques such as a “shape your water future” tool, which gave a range of options for trade-offs between service and price, analysis around ties between water services and happiness, and futurology which anticipates a changing society and the impact on water requirements.

The company will publish its final price review 2019 proposal on 3 September for the regulator to review.

Ofwat has four main themes in PR19: great customer service, affordable bills, resilience in the round and innovation.

The customer priorities gathered by Thames Water are:

  • Delivering a personal, proactive customer experience: pre-empting their needs, treating people on an individual basis and causing minimum disruption when things go wrong.
  • A safe and dependable water service: provide a high quality, reliable water service, fix leaks and help customers with their own leaks.
  • A safe and dependable wastewater service: reducing the number of sewer flooding incidents and helping individuals with their blocked pipes.
  • Be resilient: prepare for the future by helping customers use less water, ensure enough clean water can be supplied and guarantee wastewater systems can cope better.
  • Be a responsible business: help customers in vulnerable circumstances, make charges affordable for others and keep the bills stable. Use renewable energy, contribute to the local community and be transparent.