The hosepipe ban imposed in the north west of England by United Utilities following the driest conditions since 1929, has seen the company's BrandIndex 'Value' score drop.
The Value measure asks respondents if they believe the brand offers good / poor value for money and before the hosepipe ban United Utilities score was -4. After the story broke on 7th July and the ban was formally introduced on 9th July, United Utilities' rating fell sharply over the next week. It reached a low of -11 on 15th July amongst the nationally representative sample, whilst respondents in the North West show an even more pronounced change. Standing at -1 on 7th July, the 'Value' score among those consumers in the North West had fallen to -35 on 14th July.
Since that date the scores have started to improve, rising to -6 on 20th July among all respondents and -11 for those in the North West. A new development on 21st July revealed that despite recent heavy rain in the area the ban would remain in place. The continuation of the ban could see scores fall again in the coming days.
Elsewhere in the sector, Ofgem announced on 1st July that two energy firms were facing a pricing probe. One energy company is facing investigation on a postcode lottery over bills, with another also facing action from the regulator. Results from a question on a YouGov's Omnibus survey suggest that the brands in question may need to prepare a marketing offensive if they are officially named. 67% of respondents responsible for dealing with their energy supplier said they would be likely to change supplier if the company they currently use is named as involved in the scandal.