How the market works

The Water Services etc (Scotland) Act 2005 established a framework for competition. It required the separation of Scottish Water’s wholesale services from its retail function. It also allowed new licensed suppliers to compete in a retail market for business customers.

Who's who in the market

WICS are responsible for implementing this framework. We are also the licensing authority for the market. In order to compete in the market, suppliers must be awarded licences by us.

Customers are the focus of the market. There are over 130,000 business customers in Scotland (all customers who are not households) eligible to choose their supplier.

Suppliers (licensed providers) are able to compete for the custom of all business customers in Scotland. Suppliers buy services at wholesale from Scottish Water.

Scottish Water operates Scotland’s publicly owned network of pipes, mains, and treatment works. It acts as the wholesaler in the market, selling water and sewerage services to suppliers.

The Central Market Agency ensures the market functions in a simple and efficient way. The CMA facilitates the transfer of customer information between suppliers. It also calculates the money owned by each supplier to Scottish Water for wholesale services.