Pressure to rise in UK water sector
CHANGES that are expected to be unveiled this week to England’s water industry could lead to more competition in the Scottish market, the head of Business Stream has predicted.
Mark Powles, who runs the Scottish Water subsidiary that services non-household customers, thinks more companies will enter the £360 million market in Scotland once reforms to the English system are laid out.
Ministers are expected to publish their draft water bill before Westminster rises for the summer recess on Friday.
The non-household sector in England is estimated to be worth some £2 billion a year and the House of Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee believes it could take up to three years to open the industry up to competition.
At present, 21 companies have regional monopolies over domestic and non-domestic customers in England.
Business Stream already faces competition in the Scottish market – which was deregulated in 2008 – from Aimera, Anglia Water’s Osprey subsidiary, Severn Trent and Wessex Water.
The Scottish Water subsidiary serves more than 90 per cent of the market north of the Border.
Powles said: “Without getting big-headed, one of the reasons Westminster wants to reform the market in England is down to the success we’ve had in Scotland, offering £40m of discounts and £25m of savings by cutting water consumption.”
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