PR19 ‘Willingness to Pay’ Innovation

Business challenge

Our client, South Staffordshre Water, wanted to ensure that its customers receive services they truly value so it needed to understand their attitudes and behaviours towards the established and long term challenges facing the water industry. This would inform its PR19 business plan.

What we did

We took a 7-step, customer-centric approach that demonstrated innovation in terms of its overall design and built on the challenges put forward by Ofwat and other relevant agencies for PR19 customer engagement.

7-step PR19 customer engagement process

Customers and stakeholders were at the core of designing a survey instrument that was accurate, comprehensible and engaging, with an ongoing mechanism for collecting their feedback.

Two new approaches to assessing customers’ willingness to pay (WTP) were trialled quantitatively in parallel with a repeat of the PR14 approach.

The optimal approach was identified and rolled out in a large and representative quantitative survey of over 3,000 domestic and commercial customers. Repeated engagement with Customer Challenge Groups throughout ensured they provided feedback on the methodology, questionnaire design and result interpretation.


Customers and stakeholders priorities were identified and WTP values were entered into investment optimiser tools which were used in creating the PR19 Business Plan submitted to Ofwat in September 2018.

In its Initial Assessment of Plans, Ofwat stated:

In our assessment, [our client’s] plan is of high quality in terms of customer engagement.