Our role and remit

We are a non-departmental public body with statutory responsibilities. Our mission is to manage an effective regulatory framework which encourages the Scottish water industry to provide a high-quality service and value for money to customers. We act independently of Ministers.

Setting prices
We have a statutory duty to promote the interests of customers. We principally do this by setting prices for water and sewerage services that deliver Ministers’ objectives for the water industry at the lowest reasonable overall cost. The price setting process takes place every six years.

In November 2014 we published our Final Determination, which set charge caps for the regulatory control period 2015-21. This determination set out that household customers’ bills will increase below the rate of inflation over the six-year regulatory control period. This meant that typical household bills will increase by £5 or less each year.

We have recently come to the closing stage of the process to set charge caps for the regulatory control period 2021-27. We published our final determination on 10 December 2020. This sets Scottish Water on the path to meet the challenges of maintaining high-quality services while tackling the impacts of climate change and transitioning to net zero emissions.

Facilitating competition
It is part of our role to facilitate competition in the Scottish water industry. In April 2008 the Scottish water and sewerage market for all non-household customers was opened up to competition. This change has brought significant benefits to Scotland’s 130,000 business customers, offering better value for money and services that are more tailored to customers’ needs.

Monitoring performance
Our role in monitoring and reporting on Scottish Water’s performance focuses on the following key areas:
  • customer service
  • investment
  • costs
  • leakage.
We use a number of tools to challenge Scottish Water to improve in each of these areas and we monitor performance to make sure that it responds positively to these challenges.

We collect regulatory information each year and publish our findings. Formal arrangements are also in place to ensure that Scottish Water delivers the ministerial objectives on quality and customer service that were agreed at the 2015-21 price review.
Performance in delivering the outputs is monitored jointly by the Output Monitoring Group, which comprises representatives from the Drinking Water Quality Regulator, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Citizens Advice Scotland, Scottish Water, the Scottish Government (on behalf of Scottish Ministers) and WICS. The group meets every three months to review progress against ministerial objectives and against interim milestones for output delivery.