It is disappointing to see that the debate about the forthcoming Water White Paper takes little, if any, account of the facts that are available. I recently bemoaned this issue in a Soap Box piece for Utility Week. It is probably just as well there was a 650 word limit!
There is no question that Scottish Water’s Business Stream has reduced its costs considerably and that the level of service is not just much improved, but, perhaps even more importantly, is much more tailored to customers’ needs.
I have looked carefully at purported analyses of the likely costs, benefits and risks of implementing a wholesale and retail split. Some use old data (or rather ex ante estimates) long since superseded by actual experience. Others appear to have misunderstood the cost/benefit analysis that supported Martin Cave’s excellent advice to Government.
We intend shortly to publish a definitive assessment of the costs incurred in Scotland. Each number in the analysis will be linked to the reported information in either regulatory or statutory information. The analysis should therefore be able to be replicated by anyone interested in what actually happened in Scotland.
Second, we will publish a paper on the lessons that we learned from having implemented the wholesale/retail split.
And finally, we are planning an analysis of how the split of retail activities actually helps deliver environmental benefits to us all.