KPRC 2 Investigates: How does Houston Water Department compare to other major cities?

‘DRAINED’ Series looks into issues with the City of Houston water department

HOUSTON – Inaccurate meter readings and soaring high water bills are leaving many Houston water customers feeling drained. In our KPRC 2 Investigates ‘DRAINED’ series, we have explained the problems. We wanted to know how the City of Houston’s water department compares to other cities. Global research firm J.D. Power has surveyed water customers of municipal utilities for an annual study every year since 2016.

J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey compares Houston water department to other cities.

It’s called the U.S. water utility residential customer satisfaction study. J.D. Power looked at 89 municipal water departments and it says Houston scores below average. The company surveys thousands of people in each city asking questions about water quality, billing, and customer service online and by phone.

The highest possible score is 1,000. Houston’s score for 2022 is just 716.

  • Biggest concern? Houston customers surveyed said some of the biggest concerns are the quality of the water. About 42% of people said they never drink tap water in Houston. We introduced you to people in one community who have been dealing with murky, brown water for months.
  • Water pressure is also a big concern. More people in Houston said they have low water pressure than anywhere else in the country.
  • Other survey complaints include long wait times by phone and a poor digital experience. And J.D. Power said Houston scores have dropped every year for the last four years.

“We’re seeing satisfaction getting lower and as a consequence of that we are seeing results get lower and lower for the City of Houston. It used to be not so bad more recently we’ve been reporting the results to the lower end of the performance when I compare that to everyone else in the nation,” said Andrew Heath, Managing Director, Utilities Intelligence.

The average score of all other utilities included in the survey is 731. Illinois American Water came in first for the third year in a row scoring 773 this year.

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