Press Releases 2007

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It's a first: new entrant granted licence to provide retail services to water and sewerage customers in Scotland

20 May 2007

The economic regulator of the Scottish water industry today announced that it has granted the first permanent water and sewerage services licences to a new entrant to the industry, Satec Ltd.

From April 2008, business customers will be able to buy water from suppliers other than Scottish Water. Scottish Water will act as the wholesaler, selling on to retail licensees. Satec is the first private sector company to be granted licences to sell water to the 130,000 business customers in Scotland.

The opening up of the market provides an attractive opportunity to new entrants to offer customers improved value for money, either in new and improved levels of service or lower prices.

Speaking today Sir Ian Byatt, Chairman of the Commission said:

“This is a first for Scotland. All non-household customers now have a choice of water retailer.”

The Commission welcomes applications from other potential licensees. Successful applicants will be able to compete for customers and negotiate pre-agreements in the run up to 1 April 2008, when agreements will take effect.


  1. Copies of the licences granted to Satec can be found on the Commission’s website,
  2. Satec Ltd was founded in 1969 but its pedigree in water and wastewater treatment dates back over a hundred years with Hughes & Lancaster Ltd (one of the companies acquired by Satec Ltd in 1969) which supplied its first wastewater pumping system in 1882. Today, Satec Ltd specialises in packaged and engineered treatment of 'clean' process water and 'dirty' wastewater, sewage and sludge water.
  3. For information about how to apply for permanent water services and/or sewerage services licences, including details of the application process, go to or telephone 01786 430200.
  4. After 1 April 2008, Scottish Water will remain the wholesale supplier of water and sewerage services in Scotland. Licensed service providers will buy wholesale services from Scottish Water and retail these services to business customers. Competition of this kind (similar to that introduced to the electricity and gas industries) should bring wider choice, lower prices, better services and increased innovation.

  5. End customer charges will continue to be protected. Licensed service providers in the market will be required to offer default tariffs set by WICS to all customers. These default tariffs will rise by no more than 1.5% above inflation annually until 2010 (the tariffs business customers would have paid had Scottish Water remained their end service provider).
  6. The framework for competition in the Scottish water industry is set out in the Water Services etc (Scotland) Act 2005. The 2005 Act requires the Water Industry Commission to establish a regime to license new entrants into the market, and facilitate the orderly opening of the market.
For further information please call Katherine Russell, Director of Corporate Affairs, on 01786 430200.

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