Business Stream

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Scottish Water Business Stream Ltd.
Statutory corporation
IndustryWater industry
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, UK
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Susan Rice (Chairperson)
Johanna Dow (Chief Executive)
ProductsNon-domestic water, Recycled waste water
ServicesWater supply Waste water services

Business Stream is one of the largest retailers in the UK water market and the largest operator in the Scottish non-domestic water market. Headquartered in Edinburgh, it also has offices in Glasgow and Worthing, and employs over 370 staff.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Scottish Water with its own board and independent management team. It was formed in 2006 with the goal of providing a first class service for business customers on the opening of the competitive water market in Scotland.

Operation in Scotland[edit]

Scotland's non-domestic water market was opened up to competition on 1 April 2008, through the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005. This made it the first country in the world to adopt competition in the water and waste water supply markets for businesses, public sector organisations and the third sector.

Having previously supplied all of Scotland's properties with water, Scottish Water split its non-domestic arm off to serve the fledgling market. The newly formed company, called Business Stream, acted as the incumbent non-domestic water and waste water supplier serving 100% of organisations in the country. [1] Although its market share has declined as an inevitable consequence of the market opening, the retailer remains the market leader in Scotland.

Since retail competition was introduced Business Stream has saved businesses and public sector organisations more than £211 million and helped them conserve over 38 billion litres of water. These benefits include £74 million in water efficiency savings, more than £128 million in discounts and over £9 million in energy efficiency savings.

Operations in England[edit]

On 8 December 2011, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published the Water for life market reform proposals, which recommended the introduction of competition to England's non-residential water market.

Business Stream successfully registered for a licence to compete in the English market, as reported in the Sunday Times in 2009. [2] In advance of the English market opening, the company also acquired the non-household customer base of Southern Water. The acquisition doubled Business Stream's customer base, making it one of the largest retail water suppliers in the UK.

In 2017 the English retail water market opened paving the way for over 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England to choose their water retailer for the first time.

Since the market opened Business Stream has secured UK-wide contracts with Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail, Greggs, Morrison's and Regus Management (UK).

In January 2019 it was announced that Business Stream had bought the customer base of its competitors Yorkshire Water Business Services (YWBS) and Three-Sixty, both part of the Kelda Group, doubling its market share and cementing its position as one of the top three retailers in the UK water market.

The acquisition, which will take effect this summer, subject to regulatory approvals, will see Business Stream manage water and waste water services for around 140,000 new customers in the Yorkshire area.