Scots to supply water to chain's stores

Business Stream taps into English market with House of Fraser deal

Jo Dow Business StreamHouse of Fraser has switched its water supplier to Scotland-based Business Stream in one of the first moves by a major UK retailer to take advantage of reforms to the English water market.

Business Stream, the non-domestic arm of Scottish Water, has agreed a two-year deal with the chain for its flagship Oxford Street store in London, as well as its stores in Birmingham and Manchester.

As part of the partnership approach to House of Fraser’s water management strategy, Business Stream will also install automated meter readers (AMRs) into 10 stores across its English estate. This follows successful meter installations at its stores in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

These meters automatically measure water consumption every 15 minutes which allows spikes in use to be identified quickly.

Jo Dow, the recently-appointed chief executive of Business Stream said: “This is a hugely significant milestone for market reform in England and underpins our ambitious growth plans.

“There’s clearly an appetite from businesses across every sector to make water work more efficiently for them. House of Fraser has recognised that we can work with them to support their ambitious sustainability goals as well as deliver financial savings.”

In England, only sites which consume more than five million litres of water annually are currently eligible to switch suppliers, but the UK Water Act 2014 will introduce competition to the non-domestic water market in England from April 2017. To date only a handful of sites in England have switched water supplier.

Business Stream is playing a key role in the development of the English retail market, and has been an active participant in the UK Government’s consultations on the subject.

Scotland’s non-domestic retail market, which covers all premises across private and public sector organisations, opened to competition in April 2008, and Business Stream says its customers have since saved more than £100 million on their water bills.

Ms Dow said: “The experience in Scotland shows that competition delivers for customers, not just through significant reductions in water consumption, but also in pounds and pence. We would like companies based in England to be able to access those benefits too, and for that reason we’re very pleased to have agreed this contract.”

Frank J Slevin, executive chairman at House of Fraser, said: “We are looking forward to working with Business Stream to make further improvements to how we manage our water supply across our flagship stores. Our sustainability measures are extremely important to us as a business and as a key player in the retail sector we have a responsibility to try and identify creative solutions to manage these issues.

“Business Stream’s support and expertise in water saving, recycling, auditing and leak protection will help us become even more efficient and support our wider sustainability ambitions which in turn will add value to our business.”

Photo: Johanna Dow, chief executive of Business Stream and Frank J Slevin, executive chairman of House of Fraser

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