Press Releases 2008

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Water Competition Comes to Scotland

22 January 2008

News Release 01/2008
The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) and the Major Energy Users’ Council (MEUC) are hosting two joint events in February – one in Glasgow and the other in London – to highlight the introduction water competition to Scottish businesses.

The conferences, hosted by David Simpson, Deputy Chairman of WICS, and Andrew Bainbridge, Director General of MEUC, will discuss the issues surrounding the new competition framework that takes effect on April 1.

Representatives from two of the three new licensed operators – Aquavitae and Business Stream – will discuss the implications of competing to supply water and sewerage services to all 130,000 commercial businesses in Scotland, including schools, hospitals and local authorities.

Tesco and British Energy will also participate in the forum to explain the customer viewpoint.

David Simpson from WICS said: “The new framework is designed to encourage price competition and the provision of value added services to the existing water supply system. We can only be encouraged by the early interest that the scheme is generating.

“This forum is designed to explore the implications of the competitive framework in more depth, and give any Scottish-based business the information they need to make a decision on how to gain access to a reliable water supplier.”

Andrew Bainbridge from MEUC said: “It is important that utility users understand they can now use an alternative water supplier and the new framework should help to reduce their costs. We trust the two events will lead to some lively debate.”

To register a place please contact [email protected] or email [email protected]. To find more details of the event please log on to:  

Invitation to editors:

Editors are welcome to send representatives to the London or Glasgow event. To reserve places please contact Katie Cox ([email protected]) or Tony Brown ([email protected]) at 3-Monkeys Communications on 0207 440 2410.

Notes to Editors: 

  1. From 1 April, all non-household customers will be able to choose their water and wastewater supplier for the first time. Information about the competitive market, including which suppliers are licensed, can be found on the Commission’s website at
  2. 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.
  3. 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 inflation until 2010 (the tariffs business customers would have paid had Scottish Water remained their end service provider).
  4. 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. It also required Scottish Water to establish a separate retail entity (now Business Stream) to serve non-household customers in Scotland.

For further information please call Katherine Russell, Director of Corporate Affairs, on 01786 430200.

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