Scottish SMEs may benefit from lower water prices and cut their water use into the bargain, with the launch of a new, authorised water provider.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Roger Green and digital expert Rich Rankin, Brightwater Services Limited, a licensed supplier of non-domestic water, was set up to service the 180,000+ businesses in Scotland who can now choose which licensed water provider they use.
Since deregulation in 2008, when the non-domestic water market in Scotland was valued at £350 million, the focus by most other licensed providers operating in Scotland has been on switching large users where the biggest gains are to be made.
Instead, Brightwater plans to fill a niche in the SME sector, specifically targeting independent businesses in sectors such as retail, services, tourism and hospitality and professional services.
The company’s business model is based on delivering cost savings of over £1 million to its customers in its first three years through competitive pricing, while also reducing their overall combined water use by 287 million litres, equating to a further saving of up to £644,000.
The company has devised a ’10 per cent test’, a water efficiency questionnaire to benchmark current usage and aimed at helping and encouraging businesses to use 10 per cent less water.
If every business in Scotland were to reduce their usage by 10% this would save more than 16 billion litres a year – over 6,440 Olympic size swimming pools – and save Scottish business up to £35 million in water charges each year.
Brightwater took a sample of 24,875 business premises in Scotland, each of which had an estimated annual spend between £400 and £10,000 on their water services. Some 98.1% of all the businesses they analysed could save 20% on the Industry’s Default Standard Tariff by switching.
Rich Rankin, Managing Director of Brightwater, said: “Our research has shown that there is a marked lack of awareness of deregulation in this sector. Many business owners don’t think about switching water suppliers, despite the fact that switching your photocopier, phone or broadband supplier is more common.
“For small businesses in particular, where owners are juggling many different jobs, they may simply not have the time to consider switching and how it might save them money while improving their environmental performance by saving water.
“This is where we can help. Our experience in working with small businesses gives us an in-depth appreciation of the challenges they face and we have developed a simple and quick ‘ten percent test’ that will help identify where they could save water.
“Small steps can make a huge difference – just something as simple as a dripping tap can waste as much as 3250 litres of water in a year. And with the World Resources Institute indicating that demand for water is projected to rise by 40 per cent in the next 20 years, there is a clear sustainability message that will resonate with responsible businesses.
“We can see that there is enormous untapped potential for us, as a Scottish company, to help other Scottish companies save water and, of course, save on their water bills.
Brightwater is in the process of switching a number of companies. One such is accountancy firm McDonald Gordon & Co Ltd who are now saving over £250 a year. Raymond Paterson, Director with the company said: “As a small professional office we don’t use a lot of water so were surprised to find out how much we could save. Brightwater managed the whole process for us and made switching very easy. I would recommend any business, no matter what size, to take the Brightwater challenge.”