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Customer Reaction to Hypothetical and Actual CCRs and Related Information (PDF)

  • Author(s): Johnson, Branden B.
  • Publications: Journal - American Water Works Association
  • Issue Date: August 2003
  • Volume / Number: 95, Number 8
  • Page(s): 90-99
  • DOI:
  • Product Number: JAW_0058474
Full Text: pdf

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Water utilities are required to inform customers about the quality of their water and whether any violations in water quality standards have occurred. Specifically, utilities are required to publish Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs.) Six surveys were conducted of New Jersey water utility customers to assess whether these reports are effective in communicating information about water quality. The surveys provide the first evidence on how customers react to the material contained in CCRs. Johnson reviewed the survey results and found that some detailed information - in particular, ranges of detected contaminant levels - is difficult for customers to interpret. Still, as difficult as the information may be to understand, most people find the CCRs informative. The author also learned that although customers expect utility companies to communicate with them, customers do not feel obligated to provide feedback. The surveys also showed that the aesthetic qualities of the water are critical to a customer's assessment of water quality. Additionally, whether because of preexisting trust or distrust, CCRs are unlikely to shift customer views of their utility. Lastly, survey respondents made several recommendations on how the information contained in the CCRs could be improved.

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