18 February 2013, Nottingham, UK – Experian, the global information services company, today announced that Yorkshire Water is the first water company to become a full member of its Credit Account Information Sharing (CAIS) service.
Full membership of Experian’s CAIS service will see Yorkshire Water not only sharing information about all of its customers on how they manage their accounts, from payment history to outstanding balances, but also gaining access to the same information provided by other members of the scheme. These include financial services and telecommunications companies.
This move will give Yorkshire Water a deeper understanding of its customers, enabling it to identify the early signs that signal when customers may be getting into financial difficulty and prioritise those customers before it becomes a more serious situation. The company can then take positive action with its customers through open dialogue, managing their needs throughout their lifecycle, while helping them avoid getting into financial difficulties with their bills.
Yorkshire Water, responsible for the collection, treatment and distribution of water across Yorkshire, will be able to access a customer’s full credit history, with their permission, when opening a new account. This will provide Yorkshire Water with valuable insight, enabling it to tailor services to each individual and, where applicable, household’s circumstances and needs. This significantly reduces the likelihood and level of bad debt in the water industry, which is currently three times higher than the level of bad debt found in the energy sector1.
This is the first commercial application of the policy guidelines devised by the industry’s main regulators on how customer data should be shared in the water industry. Experian, with help from Yorkshire Water, has been instrumental in the process.
Paul Vescovi, Managing Director of Experian’s Credit Services for UK and Ireland, comments: “The potential financial benefit that can be derived from Yorkshire Water taking the lead in using full CAIS data is significant. By sharing information on all customers, including those who may be experiencing difficulties, it will not only reduce bad debt but ensure that customers are treated fairly and responsibly. Importantly, the information shared by Yorkshire Water will also help other credit providers get a comprehensive view of their customers’ financial commitments, supporting responsible lending across the financial services industry.
“Of course, because the vast majority people pay their water bills on time, most Yorkshire Water customers will see their credit histories strengthened by this development, potentially giving their credit ratings a helpful boost.”
Jonathan Harding, Head of Customer Service from Yorkshire Water commented: “With increased financial strain on households, there is an increasing need for us to understand and gain insight into those customers who are facing financial hardship. Putting in place the tools to share data and utilise credit information, will help provide a reliable early warning of customer behaviour and how that might play out over time. It will also make us better placed in the utilities sector to understand our customers and adapt effective payment plans to ensure our customers are being treated fairly and that we are responding to individual circumstances and needs.”
1Source: Defra Jan 2012-11-22
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.
About Yorkshire Water
Yorkshire Water delivers water and sewerage services to homes and businesses across nearly all of Yorkshire and parts of North Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire.