Our business is intrinsically linked to the environment as we rely on it for our raw product, water. For this reason we do all we can to ensure there is a clean, resilient and sustainable supply available for current and future water customers whilst ensuring there is enough water available to support the needs of the environment too. Click 'Discover More' to find out more from our Head of Environment, Emma Goddard.


Our people are dedicated to providing you with the best service possible, whether they’re out in the field searching for leaks, managing our operational sites, testing the quality of your water or answering your queries. Each and every person within the business is dedicated to delivering you the safe reliable tap water supply you expect. Click 'Discover more' to find out more from our Head of HR, Sian Jenkins.

Introduction by Tanya Sephton, our Customer Services Director

Customer satisfaction is at the very heart of how we improve and develop our services to make sure we focus on the priorities that matter most to our customers and the communities we serve.

Customer satisfaction is a key component of helping us to adapt and improve our services. The industry-wide Customer Measure of Experience (C-MeX) surveys enable us to compare ourselves with other water companies.

Our C-MeX position this year stood at 15th in the industry league table, compared to 13th last year. Although we are always looking for continuous improvement, there are some positive points to take from this score. Firstly, looking at the different geographical areas of our region, our scores were much higher in the west where there were fewer operational incidents and disruptions during the year. In the west, we would have been in the upper quartile/top three. In addition, customers who contacted our customer service teams via telephone continued to rate us very highly for customer service and satisfaction. This is testament to the dedication and commitment of our customer service teams, given the challenges that we, as a company, and some of our customers faced in the past year.

"Consumer satisfaction is at the core of our business, so we were very pleased to hold the ServiceMark Accreditation with Distinction from The Institute of Customer Service. We are just one of 70 organisations – 20 with distinction – to receive this accreditation."

The Institute’s ServiceMark, a national independently run standard, has recognised our achievement in customer service and our commitment to upholding service standards. It was awarded based on customer satisfaction feedback and an assessment of employee engagement with the customer service strategy.

A key area of continued focus has been to identify areas where we can better support customers, especially those who may be difficult to engage or need additional help.

Priority Services Register (PSR) numbers continued to rise strongly by a further 12,188. This represents a 1.33 per cent increase and means that 8.03 per cent of customers were on the PSR at the year end. This continued success is down to the strong links we continue to forge with community groups and stakeholders.

We made 6,956 bottled water deliveries to vulnerable customers on the PSR during the freeze thaw incident and we expanded the PSR to include vulnerable customers identified by local councils, the NHS and social care professionals.

We continue to assess ourselves against industry best practices and are proud to have been one of the first nine organisations to pilot the new BS ISO 22458 Inclusive Service Kitemark in recognition of our commitment to supporting vulnerable customers. We continue to work with BSI on supporting our vulnerable customers.

We increased our social tariff eligibility to reach more customers, and particularly to reach newly financially vulnerable customers. We implemented the social tariff increase to £18,005 on 15 December.

The continuance of our data sharing agreements with several borough councils in Kent, using the powers provided in the Digital Economy Act, has enabled us to continue auto-enrolment of customers eligible for support.

We are in the process of updating our Vulnerability Strategy to ensure we deliver affordable, accessible and supportive services to our vulnerable customers. More than 100 key stakeholders (including National Energy Action and finance sector) were involved in our biggest annual networking event in December in collaboration with Collaboration Network for cross-sector input. Insight from this will feed into our new strategy.

Four data share agreements have been set up to help more customers, including one with Canterbury City Council for automatic enrolment onto our social tariff. Four more agreements are already in the pipeline with more councils wanting to become involved to support the hardest to reach customers with the rising costs of living.

A new trusted partnership has been set up with charity SCOPE for data sharing and to help us better understand the challenges faced by our disabled customers. We created a joint door drop campaign with SCOPE to 100,000 households to promote our social tariff, priority services and the Disability Energy Support advice line.

Using data in our vulnerability and consumption dashboards, we have identified gaps in support, looking at areas of deprivation, high water consumption and take-up levels for priority services. We are working with specific community groups to plug any gaps, e.g., foodbanks, libraries, churches, cost-of-living hubs and climate cafés.

With the hosepipe ban in place during summer 2022, more than 341,000 free water-saving devices were distributed to households in 2022/23, compared to just under 158,000 in 2021/22 – an increase of 115 per cent.

In 2022/23 we distributed £30,000 to charitable and community organisations across our region through the Community Chest fund. Recipients of this funding include; Age Concern, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Wateringbury Primary School, RBLI, Hart Voluntary Action and the Snodland Community Cricket Club.

Our exciting AquaSmart educational platform launched aimed at engaging Key Stage 1 children in water-saving activities. Eco schools in Ashford have been trialling the initiative and there are plans to scale up the programme in the future through community groups and more schools across our supply area.

We have agreed funding with Ashford Borough Council to provide up to 500 free water butts to those on our social tariff or in receipt of financial support – an example of how we are partnering with stakeholders and community groups to boost resilience in the event of supply interruptions and encourage water-saving behaviours.

Our measures

Partnership working

Create more partnership community projects on water use and vulnerability

One of our responsible business commitments is to create more partnership community projects on water use and vulnerability.


Develop a future generation schools programme

One of our responsible business commitments is to develop a future generation schools programme on water.

Working with stakeholders

Satisfaction of stakeholders in relation to the assistance offered by South East Water

To make sure we’re reaching those customers who need our help in the most appropriate way we work closely with a range of relevant organisations and agencies. Our aim is to reach a satisfaction score of 3.7 out of five with those stakeholders we work with.

Help for those struggling to pay

Satisfaction of household customers who are experiencing payment difficulties

We understand that for those struggling to pay their water bill it can be a particularly anxious time. So to make sure we’re helping where we can we measure how satisfied customers are with our support and aim to reach a score of 4.3. out of five.

Household customers receiving financial support

Household customers receiving financial support

We're keen to ensure all our customers receive the support they need when they need it most. During 2020/21 we hoped to reach a total of 47,000 customers signed up to either our WaterSure or Social Tariff.

Helping customers in vulnerable circumstances

Priority services for customers in vulnerable circumstances

We all need extra support from time-to-time whether it’s due to disability, ill health, age, financial worries or language barriers. Our Priority Services Register (PSR) aims to provide this support.

Bottled water delivery

Satisfaction of household customers on our vulnerability schemes during a supply interruption

We know interruptions can be distressing, particularly for our customers in vulnerable situations. This is why we want to make sure we’re providing them with the best service possible when these instances occur. Our target for the year is to receive a satisfaction score 3.8 out of five.

PSR register

Satisfaction of household customers who are receiving, or applying for non-financial support

It's important to us to know that the service we offer those customers who have applied for, or are receiving assistance from us through the Priority Services Register (PSR), are happy with the response they’ve received from us. Our target for the year is to achieve a satisfaction score of 4.2 out of five.

Meeting our customers

Customer satisfaction

Each year we contact 2,400 customers at random to understand, from your point of view, what we’re doing well and where we can improve, reacting to comments made on a variety of subjects.

Developer measure of experience

Developer Measure of Experience (D-MeX)

We receive hundreds of requests each year from developers, self-lay providers and NAVs to connect into our water mains network, therefore we want to make sure we’re providing them the best service possible.

Customer measure of experience

Customer Measure of Experience (C-MeX)

We undertake surveys every three months to gather your views on your experience of us as well as the service we provide you.

Value for money

Satisfaction with value for money

It's important to us to know whether you feel the service you receive from us, is good value for money. We survey a minimum of 400 customers each year and ask them to rank us out of five in terms of value for money.