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Originally all water customers in Scotland were served directly by Scottish Water, a Government owned company. Customers paid for their water through their Business Rates to their local council and Scottish Water was responsible for providing customer service and billing as well as managing the water network. To create a competitive market, including competitive pricing and enhanced customer service, the Government deregulated the business market and split Scottish Water into two companies:
• Scottish Water – which maintains the water network and services household customers.
• Business Stream – which supplies and bills non-household customers for their water and waste services.
This change allowed new companies to enter the market. Since 1 April 2008 all 130,000 businesses, public sector, charitable, not-for-profit organisations, and other non-household customers in Scotland have been able to choose from a variety of suppliers.