Posted: Friday 4th February 2011

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has welcomed a report from a UK Parliamentary Select Committee which recognises the potential benefits of a competitive water market in England, in particular the recommendation for a measured introduction of a system similar to the Scottish model as part of next year’s proposed Water White Paper.

In its Future Flood and Water Management Legislation report, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee highlighted the customer benefits of water competition as already seen in Scotland where the market has been deregulated since 2008.

The report recommended that a measured introduction of water competition for England should be part of next year’s Water White Paper, as long as a system could be created which maintained certainty for investors over the future of regulation and structure of the industry.

Alan Sutherland, Chief Executive of WICS, the economic regulator of the Scottish water industry, said: “This is a very welcome recommendation by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. We are pleased that the benefits of the competitive market in Scotland have been recognised and we believe a similar system could work in England and should be part of next year’s Water White Paper.

“For over two years now businesses and public sector organisations in Scotland have benefited from a competitive water market which has not only delivered cost savings but has also reduced water usage, driving significant environmental advantages as well.”

A recent independent report on the competitive market in Scotland showed that since 2008 over 45,000 customers in Scotland have renegotiated the terms of their supplies – receiving either better prices or more tailored levels of service, and in many cases both. The report added that savings for customers are forecast to exceed £110 million over the next decade.

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