Houston’s boil water notice could further dampen customer satisfaction with utility

The City of Houston ranked 65th out of 90 participating water utilities. That could decrease after the city’s most recent water crisis.


A water faucet.

In a nationwide customer satisfaction survey released earlier this year by J.D. Power, the City of Houston ranked 65th out of 90 participating water utilities.

That marked a continued downward trend, according to Andrew Heath, the managing director of utilities intelligence for J.D. Power. He said Houston's performance ratings were close to average when his company first began conducting residential water surveys eight years ago, with its scores having declined during the last few years.

Heath said he expects the city's standing to further decrease after its latest water crisis. A boil water notice was issued for the entire city on Sunday night – several hours after a power outage caused Houston's water pressure to temporarily dip below acceptable levels – and remained in place until Tuesday morning.

"When there are problems like there are in Houston right now, that immediately leads to lower levels of customer satisfaction," Heath said Monday.

Low water pressure already was a concern among Houston residents, more so than in many other parts of the country, according to Heath. He also said the city was fifth-worst in terms of water quality in the latest rankings, released in May, with 42 percent of Houstonians saying they did not drink tap water because of worries about its color and clarity.

Heath said the boil water notice also could conjure memories from February 2021, when Houston and much of Texas had unsafe tap water because of widespread power outages caused by Winter Storm Uri.

"I will be surprised if we don't get feedback when we survey people next that shows frustration about the problem from a year ago not being addressed," Heath said. "It's an electrical failure that caused problems with water reliability or water safety, causing a boil advisory for the city."

Adam Zuvanich

Adam Zuvanich

Digital Content Producer

Adam Zuvanich writes locally relevant digital news stories for Houston Public Media. He grew up in the Houston area and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas before working as a sportswriter in Austin, Lubbock, Odessa, St. Louis and San Antonio. Zuvanich returned home to Houston and made...

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