How it works

Scotland is the first country in the UK to offer non-household customers a choice in who supplies their water.

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.

 

How does competition in the water industry work?

The network of water and sewerage pipes in Scotland is wholly owned by Scottish Water. It acts as the wholesaler in the market, selling water and sewerage services to licensed providers including kinex. kinex acts as a retailer of water and waste water services providing billing, customer service and a technical liaison with the wholesaler.

 

Competition since deregulation

A small number of new suppliers have entered the market since 2008 with most focussing on the bigger businesses, so until now, small businesses may not have had a competitive choice. In our experience, many small businesses are still unaware that they now have a choice in who provides their water and waste water services.