Policy & Research
Water is an essential service and when problems occur, such as with frozen pipes in winter, it can be a stark reminder how critical it is to life. Water and sewerage services in Scotland are provided by Scottish Water. Households pay a fixed price for water and sewerage, based on Council Tax bands, through council tax bills. Households can pay up to £787 a year. It is vital that consumers across Scotland get a fair deal and have access to high quality water and sewerage services.
In August 2011, we became the advocate for water consumers in Scotland. Our goal is to ensure that the needs of consumers are at the heart of the Scottish water industry.
To help us do this, we have a range of statutory powers and duties to enable us to act on behalf of consumers. This means organisations must consult with us and consider our representative views on behalf of consumers on water issues. These include Scottish Ministers, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, Scottish Water, the Drinking Water Quality Regulator and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Highlighting best practice on water efficiency in the water industry
We are proud to support the 2012 UK water efficiency awards. Click here for further details
Sales practices in the water industry
We have recently published ‘Trust and Transparency’ – an investigation that raised concerns about Scottish Water’s relationship with private insurance firm Homeserve. We looked into the issue of sales letters from the private firm being sent to thousands of households in Scotland in ‘Scottish Water’ branded envelopes. Our report urged the public sector utility to remove or minimise its branding from the private firm’s sales literature. Scottish Water has now implemented changes to Homeserve letters that address our concerns and, importantly, this makes the relationship less confusing for vulnerable consumers.
Scotland as a ‘hydro nation’
The Scottish Government’s consultation on ‘Scotland – The Hydro Nation’ sets out proposals to use Scotland’s water resources more fully to boost the Scottish economy. We believe there is a need to help households make the link between saving water and saving energy, keep water prices low and ensure that global ambitions for the use of Scotland’s water is balanced with the need to address issues at home such as water debt. We have made a range of recommendations on how the proposals should be strengthened in the interest of water consumers and will continue to make this case as the new Bill passes through the Scottish Parliament.
- Scottish Water have undertaken to ensure sales letters from private insurance firm Homeserve are clearer around who they are from – and water customers do not confuse this with communication from Scottish Water. More information can be found in our Trust and Transparency report.
- Our report ‘Guaranteed Water Rights‘ found that Scottish Water needs to do more to promote its guarantees on consumer rights and we are working with Scottish Water to ensure they better promote consumer awareness of their minimum service standards.
Your views count
Scottish Water is considering its plans for the future of your water and waste water services in Scotland and wants to hear your views on these.
You can find out more and provide your views the Scottish Water website link:
27 September 2012
Consumer Focus Scotland gives evidence to Scottish Parliament on Water Resources Bill Scotland’s water consumer watchdog, Consumer Focus Scotland, says ambitious proposals to extend the scope of the work done by Scottish Water must not mean prices for consumers go up. The organisation says Scottish Government legislation to deliver its ambition of a Hydro Nation, [...]
28 June 2012
Commenting on the publication today of the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill, Trisha McAuley, Deputy Director of Consumer Focus Scotland, said: “Consumer Focus Scotland welcomes the publication of the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill and the Scottish Government’s commitment to the sustainable stewardship of water resources here in Scotland and also internationally. “The proposal to establish a [...]
28 June 2012
Scottish Water needs to do more to promote its guarantees on customers rights – watchdog Households in Scotland are in the dark about guarantees Scottish Water has put in place on a range of services for customers. A new report by the water watchdog has found 90% of water customers do not know what they [...]
more news on: water
Consumer Focus Scotland response to Scottish Water’s consultation ‘Shaping the future of your water and wastewater services – draft strategic projections
14 March 2013
Consumer Focus Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to Scottish Water’s consultation “Shaping the future of your water and waste water services – Draft Strategic Projections”. We are particularly pleased that both stakeholders and consumers’ views are being sought to set out investment priorities and strategic approaches addressing the challenges lying ahead in the next [...]
Evidence to the Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee – Water Resources Scotland Bill
26 September 2012
Consumer Focus Scotland welcomes and supports the overall intention in the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill to set out a framework for making the most of Scotland’s water resources. We remain absolutely clear, however, that there should be no adverse impact on the core services provided by Scottish Water, and no additional costs to its customers.
13 September 2012
Consumer Focus Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Scottish Government’s proposals on Investing in and Paying for Your Water Services from 2015. We particularly welcome the fact that the proposals on Principles of Charging and those on Determining the Investment Requirements have now been integrated into the one process as this presents a [...]
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