The benefits of a competitive water market have been made clear in Scotland, with more than £100million cut from the water bills of businesses and public sector organisations since competition was introduced in 2008.
New figures released by Scottish water supplier Business Stream reveal businesses across the country have saved £51.7million through price discounts on top of a £43million saving from water-efficiency measures during the past six years.
“Competition has been the driving force behind these savings,” said Business Stream’s chief executive Mark Powles. “We responded to this challenge by listening to our customers and working with them to reduce their costs and improve their environmental impact.
“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, demonstrates the success of the competitive market in Scotland.
“Competition has made water a much more mainstream business issue, which has had clear financial and operational benefits for many customers. The money customers save on water bills can be reinvested, making it a very sustainable way to reduce cost.”
In May, the English government introduced the long-awaited Water Bill which will introduce competition to the country’s £2billionn water market and allow an estimated 1.1 million businesses to switch their water supplier, compared with just the 27,000 business consuming more than five million litres a year under current laws. The Bill grew from Defra’s 2011 Water For Life paper and will finally come into effect in 2017.
Today’s figures go on to reveal that Scotland’s public sector is also on track to save more than £36million, as a result of a four-year deal with Business Stream, which is the largest supplier of non-household and wastewater services in Scotland.
The water-saving measures highlighted in the report range from tap aerators for small customers to large-scale interventions like boreholes, water recycling facilities and underground network mapping for leak identifying for large businesses. The efficiency measures represent more than 20billion litres of water saved in six years, equating to 34,000 tonnes of carbon.