Scottish businesses are spending £100 million less on water following the introduction of retail competition for non-domestic customers six years ago, according to Business Stream.

The water provider said water efficiency measures amounting to £43 million and price discounts of £51.7 million had been the primary sources of savings.

Competition was introduced to Scotland in April 2008 and Business Stream was established as the incumbent provider. A number of other competitors have entered the market since then.

England’s non-household market will open to competition in 2017, after the Water Act passed into law in May of this year.

Mark Powles, chief executive of Business Stream, said: “The achievements in Scotland have been watched closely by policymakers in England, influencing the introduction of legislation which will provide the same opportunities for businesses and public sector organisations south of the border.

“That’s a very exciting development and we’re actively contributing to the development of the competition market in England to help create an approach which follows the best of the Scottish model by placing the interests of customers at the heart of the market.”

Business Stream also said that 20 billion litres of water have been removed from use across Scottish organisations since competition was introduced, equating to 34,000 tonnes of carbon.

In addition, customer satisfaction has increased due to the introduction of more than 60 new services, a greater focus on customer service and “keener pricing”.

According to the water company, nearly three-quarters of customers are now getting a better deal through a competitive market than if competition hadn’t been introduced.

Powles said: “Before the non-domestic water market in Scotland was opened, energy efficiency was a well-established concept but water was very much the forgotten utility. A lot of our customers are now very sophisticated in their approach to water management, and treat water as an important business asset. That’s a significant achievement and together with the savings and efficiencies achieved demonstrate the success of the competitive market in Scotland.”


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