How the introduction of competition has improved the Scottish water industry
Back in 2008, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer non-household customers the choice as to who supplies their water. All 130,000 businesses, public sector and other organisations across the country, from corner shops to international companies, have been able to choose the supplier which best suits their needs.
Within this newly formed industry structure, Scottish Water continues to maintain and control the water network and infrastructure and acts as a wholesaler to private companies which supply water and waste water services to non-domestic users.
Since the introduction of competition to the industry, significant improvements have been seen within the Scottish water industry which have positively affected both the price the customer pays and the service they receive as suppliers now compete for customers by offering more competitive prices and seek out more cost-effective and innovative solutions to best serve their customer base. Financial benefits have been witnessed by both domestic and non-domestic customers with the average Scottish household bill in 2013-14 being lower on average than those in England and Wales.
Improvements to infrastructure and the end product have also been seen as a result of the competition introduced to the non-domestic industry. In 2013/14, Scottish Water invested £475m in its infrastructure, which included a £58.5m investment toward maintaining a high standard of drinking water throughout Scotland. Efficiencies have also been seen by way of a huge reduction in leakage which has reduced from 1104 Megalitres (Ml)/day in 2005-06 to 566 Ml/day in 2013-14.
So, as you can see, the Scottish Water industry has witnessed significant improvements over the past few years, improvements which are not only benefitting large organisations within the industry but all parties involved, the wholesaler (Scottish Water), the supplier, and the consumer.