See how Houston's water department stacks up against other big cities

KPRC 2 ‘DRAINED’ Investigation into the City of Houston water department

HOUSTON – The latest customer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power shows Houston customers are not satisfied with our water department. The KPRC 2 Investigates team is breaking down the score that is down for the third consecutive year.

When we started investigating Houston’s Water department over billing and metering issues draining customers, we also began tracking the city’s water customer satisfaction rankings each year. And let’s just say if Houston was a student and these rankings were grades the water department would be failing. (See the 2022 results.)

KPRC 2 'DRAINED' Investigation looks to help people dealing with Houston water department issues. What started as a visit to get answers about a big bill and turned into a huge team effort to help repair several huge home issues. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

J.D. Power surveyed water customers in 93 cities all across the country. On average customer satisfaction is up this year but not here in the bayou city.

“The Houston story is not as strong. We actually saw a decline, of all the water utilities the larger ones in the south. Actually, it was the largest decline we saw of that group,” said Andrew Heath, J.D. Power.

Houston results (on scale of 1 to 1,000)

  • 2023 = 690
  • 2022 = 716
  • 2021 = 729

“If we just looked at one of the areas we talked about ‘quality and reliability’ of the water, it’s actually one of the lowest scores in the nation. It’s the third lowest score we see in the nation,” said Health.

Other big cities down in the basement with us in the rankings is Cleveland, Ohio with 682 points and Baltimore, Washington with 644.

How does Houston water service stack up against other cities? J.D. Power residential customer satisfaction study. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Houston customers were surveyed between June of 2022 and March of this year. And the boil water notice that went on for days in November was something half of all customers mentioned.

Boil water notice lifted for City of Houston in November after 2 days without proper purification, officials announce

“And in consequence, the scores for things like reliability, satisfaction, they went down severely at that particular point of the year. Houston has the lowest percentage of customers anywhere in the south who say they drink the tap water,” said Health. “Clearly the customers are telling us at jd powers, there’s a lot of room for improvement regarding the way they think about and the quality of the water they’re receiving.”

J.D. Power has surveyed water customers of municipal utilities for this annual study every year since 2016. You can see the full results here.

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