Businesses in Scotland have been able to choose their water supplier since 2008.
Initially, there were not any significant price reductions but customer service improved and additional services were offered to help clients understand their water bills and also help them reduce consumption.
Recent pricing rounds have seen reductions of up to 20% being offered and now the market is maturing approval ratings have increased significantly.
From 1 April 2008, all 130,000 business customers in Scotland have been able to choose their water and sewerage supplier. This is because the retail market was opened up to competition, in much the same way as happened in the gas and electricity industries.
Businesses across the country – from the smallest corner store to the largest conglomerate - are now benefitting from the change.
Competition between suppliers means increased choice. It means potential savings on water bills and improved customer service.
Scotland went through the deregulation process in 2008. What can England learn?
Overall, the Scottish experience has been positive. The benefits can be split in to two principal areas. Firstly, discount prices. These started out small but have grown to around 20-25%.
Secondly, following deregulation in Scotland, customer satisfaction is the area in which the most positive effect has been seen, with most providers reporting dramatic rises in positive customer feedback.
In England, as expected, there have been some initial teething-troubles and new initiatives to help customers, such as online portals, will take time and testing to get right, nevertheless, the long term prognosis suggests that more choice and control will be ongoing themes of deregulation and this can only be a positive thing for customers of all size and type.