Press Releases 2009

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Scots soak up benefits of cheaper water

19 February 2009

  • Scottish households on average paying £20 less for water than in England and Wales
  • Scottish Water’s running costs 40% lower than 7 years ago

Scottish households are an average of twenty pounds better off this year than their English and Welsh counterparts, thanks to Scottish Water’s improvements in performance.

That’s according to a report published today by Scotland’s water industry regulator, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS).

Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive of WICS commented:  “We are pleased to report that Scottish Water has met its targets for running costs, beating our expectations by five per cent. These savings are being passed on to Scottish households and businesses.”

The report, ‘Cost and Performance 2007-08’ shows that in response to targets set by WICS, Scottish Water’s running costs have dropped by 40 per cent since it was established in 2002. Savings to date are estimated at 180 million pounds a year.

Alan Sutherland continued: “Scottish Water should be congratulated on its achievements which are helping to keep customers bills lower than they would otherwise have been.

 “Scottish Water has come a long way since it was established, reducing running costs whilst improving service. This has been achieved despite challenges such as rising energy prices and higher local authority rates.

“We expect that, by 2010, the average Scottish household bill will be twenty-eight pounds lower than the average in England and Wales.”

WICS is a non-departmental public body with statutory responsibilities. It was established in 2005 with a remit to manage an effective regulatory framework which encourages the Scottish water industry to provide a high-quality service and value for money to customers.

WICS is currently assessing limits on how much Scottish Water will be able to charge households during 2010-14. It expects to announce its provisional conclusions on 30 June.  It predicts that if Scottish Water can continue to perform to target, the current benign outlook for charges can continue beyond 2010.

You can download a copy of the report here.


For more press information:
- Claire Methven, Helen Prowse or Julie Fourcade, 3 Monkeys Communications, 020 7009 3100 ([email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected] )

Notes to editors:

1. The Water Industry Commission for Scotland is the economic regulator of the Scottish water industry. It has a statutory duty to determine price limits for Scottish Water based on the lowest reasonable cost of achieving ministerial objectives for the water industry. In November 2005, the Commission determined price limits for water and sewerage services for the regulatory control period 2006-10. A document setting out WICS’ full determination is available at

2. WICS’ Costs and Performance report assesses how Scottish Water has performed against efficiency targets set in November 2005. A copy is available at:

3. WICS will be setting limits on the amount Scottish Water can charge households during 2010-14 later this year. It will announce price caps in draft on 30 June for consultation, prior to issuing a final decision on 30 November.

4. Since 1 April 2008, all business customers and public bodies, such as, local authorities, hospitals, schools etc are eligible to switch water supplier. The framework for competition is set out in the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005. The 2005 Act required WICS 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.


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