Scotland was the first country in the world to offer business customers the freedom to choose their retailer.
Since April 2008, all 160,000 businesses, public sector, charitable and not-for-profit organisations in Scotland have been presented with a range of retailers from which to choose.
The introduction of competition in the water industry in Scotland has brought wider choice, more tailored services, and lower prices.
Significant environmental benefits have also been delivered as a result of the reduced level of water consumption since market opening.
The network of water and sewerage pipes in Scotland is wholly owned by Scottish Water. Scottish Water acts as the wholesaler in the market, selling water and sewerage services to the water companies, known as retailers. Having bought their wholesale services from Scottish Water, the retailers then bundle these services with other value-adding offerings and sell them to non-household customers.
The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) is the economic regulator for the water and sewerage industry in Scotland. To protect customers, WICS requires retailers to provide default services to all business customers (regardless of the location or size of their business) at a price no higher than a default tariff.
You can find the 2021-22 default tariffs here.
Competition affects all non-household customers namely small, medium and large businesses, charities and non-profit organisations. Non-household customers can choose the retailer that best meets their needs, which means that retailers are incentivised to make their offering more attractive.
This may result in:
Households are not affected, with all households in Scotland continuing to receive water and sewerage services from Scottish Water and paying charges along with Council Tax.
Changing retailer, or setting up a new water connection, is easier than you might think. It generally takes less than a month from start to finish.
You might wish to change water supplier for any one of a number of reasons – perhaps you’d like to reduce water bills, get better service from your water supplier, or get advice from your water supplier on using less water to help save money.
If you have received a water bill that you weren’t expecting, you should contact your retailer for help understanding why it has been sent to you. The retailer should be able to explain why the bill has been sent to you, what it covers, and what your payment options are.
If you believe you have grounds for complaint against your supplier, click here for information on how to do so.
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