Utility Week

UTILITY Week 14th October 2016

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Page 18 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 14TH - 20TH OCTOBER 2016 | 19 Operations & Assets SCOTTISH WATER IN NUMBERS 2.49m households served by Scottish Water 152K business premises served 1.37bn litres of drinking water provided per day 921m litres of wastewater treated per day £351 average household charge in 2016/17 £38 lower than the average charge in England 30,062 miles of water pipes 31,621 miles of sewer pipes 244 number of water treatment works 1,851 number of wastewater treatment works We ask about Scottish Water's stance on competition, renewables and Brexit. Q: What do you see as the main difference between the Scottish and the rest of the UK water markets? A: Scottish Water is a unique, publicly-owned utility. Our surplus is reinvested to support delivery of ser- vices to customers. We're accountable to the Scottish parliament, and have one-to-one economic regulation, whereas in England there are multiple water companies. But generally speaking we work in similar ways and, like our colleagues elsewhere in the UK, are very customer- focused. On the retail side, the market for non-household cus- tomers has been in place in Scotland since 2008 – and is becoming increasingly competitive – while the market in England opens fully next year. Q: How does customer charging work in Scotland? A: Household customer bills are collected by local coun- cils on our behalf using the council tax payment system. For the vast majority of households, their bill is based on their council tax band. Our household customers continue to benefit from an average household charge which is among the lowest in Great Britain – and it's helping to pay for £3.5 billion of investment between 2015 and 2021 to further improve services and support jobs in Scotland's economy. For business customers, their key billing relationship is with the retailer/licensed provider, which in turn pays Scottish Water as the wholesaler. Q: Do you think environmental policy in Scotland will be impacted by Brexit? A: Like many other companies in a range of sectors, we are observing developments with interest. Clearly there is a significant amount of environmental legislation which applies to the water industry. But the Scottish government has made it clear that it will not change environmental protection standards as a result of Brexit, and Scottish Water has a clear plan to deliver for our customers and protect the environment, with plans and priorities set to 2021. Q: Does Scottish Water have plans for further renew- able energy and onsite generation? A: In the past three years, we have doubled our renew- able capacity and diversified our technology to include hydro, wind, photovoltaic solar and combined heat and power. Our commercial arm, Horizons, also operates a successful food recycling plant. Our aim, by 2018, is to facilitate more than double the amount of energy we consume through renewables. Q&A Peter Farrer, Chief operating officer, Scottish Water of Scottish Water's ability to meet demand, leakage has been reduced by more than half since 2006, meaning Scottish Water has been able to connect more custom- ers without having to build new treatment facilities. Coupled with this, water quality is at an all-time high. Speaking at WWT's Water Scotland conference in Glasgow, Cun- ningham said drinking water quality is at its highest level ever in Scotland, with 99.92 per cent of samples meeting strict standards. "Environmental compliance has also improved – in 2006 there were more than 1,000 pollution incidents, and now there are 260," she said. "Customer service scores are excellent too. In 2006, Scottish Water's customer satisfaction score was poor compared with the rest of the UK, now it is leading." Source: Scottish government

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