Scotland is home to some of the best quality water in the world. With hundreds of lochs and rivers supplying a small population, it’s no wonder that every time someone turns on a tap they’re almost guaranteed a glass of soft water that is ideal for drinking and cleaning.
As a country that takes pride in its water, just how is it that businesses there get a good deal on their water bills. After all, if there are guidelines in place to ensure wastewater re-entering the local network has to be cleaned thoroughly (a cost-intensive process), just how can any business keep their water bills down.
Let’s explore the wonderful world of business water in Scotland and how companies get such good deals.
Water is accountable
The only way to hold water to an extremely high standard is to ensure that someone is there to be held accountable for it. In Scotland, Scottish Water is a statutory/public corporation which is responsible for maintaining the water supply both domestically and commercially. That means someone needing water for a cup of tea should expect the same quality as someone looking to fill a bucket for cleaning.
With this accountability at play, businesses can focus their energy on internal operations as they don’t have to worry about poor water quality or supply issues on entry.
The water market is open
Scotland was the first country in the world to change how businesses could pay for water by switching to an open market system. While Scottish Water was still in charge of making sure water is in working order, licensed providers could now take on the responsibility of charges and associated services.
The big change did two unique things. Firstly, it helped Scottish Water take a massive load off its back and let the company get on with maintaining services. Secondly, it suddenly created a plethora of competition amongst providers which businesses could freely choose from.
This set in the motion the chance for companies to start providing additional services and lower tariffs than Scottish Water used to. One such company, Castle Water, explains it as the chance to “see if bills can come down and subtle improvements can be made”. With businesses being able to work with a provider on a micro, rather than macro level, it allows for business owners to improve their water systems and lower reliance on outdated models.
Since doing so in 2008, it is estimated that the changes have seen over £100 million in cuts from business water bills, equalling roughly 3.3 billion litres of water per year. And speaking of saving water…
Scottish businesses are savvy savers
With more competition between providers, customers have realised the open market allows them to compare providers and see what services they could get to lower usage over time.
One of the major changes was the trend of having smart meters installed. Traditionally, water rates for businesses in Scotland were based on the rateable value of the property and not solely the amount of water used. Such a method created scenarios where businesses in towns and city centres were paying too much for water because of where they were located.
The introduction of smart meters which accurately calculate usage and send the information directly to the provider put an end to that. It goes to show that a little ingenuity when you’re told there are savings to be had, can go a long way.
And with the general assumption that 95% of the water used by a business ends up as wastewater, businesses are also employing measures to recycle greywater and reduce the level of trade effluent which enters the local sewerage. Again, using smart meters and new technology to highlight lower emissions is helping bring bills down for many businesses.
Interested in learning about other ways businesses are becoming savvy to savings?
Read the latest posts from the blog, where you’ll find business advice and news on ways businesses can be proactive with essential services.