We’re committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This privacy notice tells you what to expect from us when we use information about you to manage your water and wastewater services account.
For our corporate privacy notice, which covers how Southern Water uses information about people, please see southernwater.co.uk/privacy.
What information we collect about you
The exact information we collect may vary based on the service we provide to you. Typically, we need details like:
- your name and date of birth so that we know who you are and can identify you when you contact us
- your contact details like phone number or email so that we can keep in touch with you about our services and your account
- your bank account or other financial details so we can manage your payment for our services
- if you need special help or consideration, we will need information about your health or social circumstances
- your national insurance number if you are eligible for government assisted payments
- your marketing preferences to tailor our service to your expectations
- your account history and notes of previous interactions
How we collect information about you
We obtain information about you:
- when you set up your account with us
- when you contact us for any reason
- if you complete an online form, enter a competition or complete a survey
- when you contact us by telephone. Your call will be recorded for training and service-related purposes. We also record outbound calls when we need to get in touch with you to discuss your account, payment, a problem with your bill or to arrange a visit to your property
- from your water meter
- when you sign up for special tariffs or discounts
- when you register as a priority customer
- when you register for Your Account on our website
- when we visit you at home, in connection with works or repairs
- when you use our website
- when you contact us on our social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube)
- when third parties contact us (eg Landlords, Housing Associations)
- from neighbouring water companies who provide your water services
- we also monitor email communications and may restrict delivery under certain circumstances.
We obtain information from the following publicly accessible sources:
- Registers of county court judgments (CCJs)
- Registers of bankruptcies.
We obtain information from the following third parties:
- We obtain contact details from various 3rd party debt collection and tracing agencies such as UK Search, so that we can contact you about your account.
- We use Hootsuite and Brandwatch to manage our social media contact which obtains your reason and details for contacting us and your demographics (if publicly available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube).
How we use information about you
We use information about you to do the following:
- Manage your account. There is a public interest in delivering and funding effective water and wastewater services.
- Look at your financial circumstances and demographics if we haven’t received payment from you, to allocate you to the most appropriate billing and collections route to meet the public interest in funding effective water and waste water services. In some circumstances this may mean that your payment is referred to a debt collection agency or we’ll look to recover payment through the courts. We will always take appropriate measures to ensure we have done this in accordance with our internal governance to ensure we are fair and proportionate.
- Offer you water and wastewater-related goods and services. It’s in our legitimate interests to broaden the portfolio of services we offer to you.
- Track customer trends to improve the way we work and the services we deliver to you. There is a public interest in the delivery of efficient and effective water and wastewater services.
- Provide credit reference agencies and other bodies with information for credit management purposes to support the legitimate interest in the sound operation of the credit system.
- Share information with neighbouring water companies to complete the billing process. We are required to do this by law.
- Send you news and updates about water efficiency and avoiding blockages to serve the public interest in the effective operation of our water and sewerage systems.
- Offer you a free water efficiency visit because of your water usage or financial circumstances. We have a legal obligation to promote water efficiency.
- If you’ve asked to join the Priority Services Register, to give you priority services in the event of an emergency. We do this with your consent. You may withdraw this at any time by contacting us on 0330 303 0277.
- Seek your views or comments on the services we provide. It’s in our legitimate interests to obtain feedback on our services.
- Notify you of changes to our services. It’s in our legitimate interests to keep customers up to date with service developments.
- Send you communications which you have requested and that may be of interest to you. You may change your mind at any time by contacting us on 0330 303 0277.
- Improve our services. We have a legitimate interest in continuously reviewing and improving our services.
- Track and record your water usage using intelligent meters for billing, leak detection and water efficiency purposes to support the public interest in the funding and delivery of efficient water and wastewater services.
Profiling and automated decision-making
We sometimes use profiling to identify which of our customers need additional help from us and automated decision making to ensure that customers get an experience that is most appropriate for them.
We use your payment history associated with data from the Office of National Statistics on the level of deprivation in your area to determine whether you might need additional financial support from us. This could be in the form of communications about support available to you, or fast tracking you through refunds you are eligible for, without you having to apply. We also use your payment history to determine how we communicate with you about your future bills and any collections activity we may need to undertake.
You have the right to ask us to manually review any decision that we make this way. To do this contact the Data Protection Officer at email@example.com or write to Data Protection Officer, Southern Water, Southern House, Yeoman Road, Worthing, BN13 3NX
You have the right to object to our use of profiling in your particular case. To do this, contact the Data Protection Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Data Protection Officer, Southern Water, Southern House, Yeoman Road, Worthing, BN13 3NX, explaining why you think the profiling is inappropriate. We’ll consider your request carefully, although in some circumstances we may still need to use profiling in our case. Visit southerwater.co.uk/privacy for more information on our approach to this.
Who we share information with
We may share information about you with about the following:
- Any of your family, associates, or someone who represents you, where you’ve asked us to do so.
- Carefully selected contractors and specialists (eg Capita and Aqualogic) to help us provide you with our services or for research purposes.
- We use third party specialists to process payments made via our websites. These include WorldPay.
- Our regulators (eg Ofwat, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Environment Agency), the Consumer Council for Water, Natural England, Public Health England, local authorities and other water companies to meet our obligations under the Water Industry Act 1991 and related legislation.
- BMG Research on behalf of Ofwat to conduct surveys to meet our regulatory obligations to rate Southern Water’s performance against other water companies
- Credit reference and fraud prevention agencies to help prevent and detect fraud, to keep our contact data up to date, and as part of our debt management planning and processes.
- External agencies like the police, fire service, or local councils in the event of an emergency situation (eg loss of water)
- If the company that supplies your drinking water or removes your wastewater is not Southern Water, we will exchange information with them to calculate your bill or to provide common billing
- Charities and not for profit organisations to support priority services customers who have explicitly agreed that we can pass their details on.
We will tell you about water-related products, services which we think may be of interest to you. You may ask us at any time to stop sending you these communications by contacting us on 0330 303 0277.
Please note, that you’ll still receive non-personalised information about us or water-related goods and services. These are delivered by Royal Mail. You can opt out of receiving these by:
For details visit the Royal Mail webpage personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/293
Transferring information about you overseas
We sometimes share your information with carefully selected organisations outside the UK, such as contractors working on our behalf to provide services to you. We use the following organisations based outside of the European Economic Area (EEA):
- Capita in India have access to our systems in order to process requests and respond to queries
- Arcadis in the Philippines for data analysis
How long we keep information about you
We’ll hold the information on our system for as long as is necessary for the relevant activity, or as long as is needed to meet our legal and accounting obligations.
Keeping information up to date
Please tell us as soon as possible if your contact details or other personal information change, or if you think that the information we have isn’t accurate. You can contact us on 0330 303 0277. We’ll reply within one month of hearing from you.
When you’re no longer liable for our charges (for example, if you’ve moved house) for example, or there’s a change to the people who are jointly liable with you, you should tell us about this as soon as possible. If you don’t, it could result in incorrect data being shared and used by credit reference agencies, which may affect how other organisations view your creditworthiness.
If you want to know more about how Southern Water stores and uses your personal data: