Our history

We've been innovators in economic regulation for 20+ years. Learn more about our history.

1999

Role of Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland established, with the broad function of customer protection and economic regulation of the three water authorities that existed at that time.


2001

Commissioner publishes the Final Determination of Charges for 2002-06, detailing revenue caps for both the three authorities and for a new, single entity Scottish Water. A focus on robust information provision, efficiency improvement and clarity on deliverables.

Read the determination

2002

Scottish Water replaces the three existing water authorities, paving the way for the substantial improvements in efficiency and service that Scottish Water has since delivered.


2003

Commissioner publishes first performance reports, providing detailed analysis of industry performance including the scope for efficiency, investment delivery and levels of customer service.


2005

WICS replaces the Water Commissioner as part of a move to strengthen regulatory independence by clarifying the regulator’s role as decision maker, rather than as advisor.

WICS publishes Final Determination for 2006-10, with a focus on developing a clear regulatory framework with a hard budget constraint.

Read the determination

2008

Retail market for non-household customers opens in Scotland – a world first allowing 150,000 business and public sector organisations (gross market value c£330m pa) to choose their retailer for water and sewerage services.

Find out more about the retail market

Read more

Image
Hairdresser washing client's hair

2009

WICS publishes Final Determination for 2010-15, with a focus on delivering value for money for customers while ensuring financial sustainability and creating a greener water industry.

Read the determination

2011

Customer Forum established, with the explicit purpose of giving customers a stronger voice in the price setting process, and of strengthening the relationship between the regulated company and its customers.

Professor Stephen Littlechild later commented that the move had “led to a more thorough investigation and understanding of customer preferences, certainly more than would otherwise have taken place as part of a conventional price control review”.


2014

Scottish Water’s performance now comparable with that of the best performing companies in England and Wales, demonstrating that economic regulation can be applied successfully to a publicly owned company.

Delivered training to the Greek Special Secretariat for Water, one of our first projects in support of the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation initiative.


2016

Working alongside Professor Chris Hodges of the University of Oxford, WICS starts to work with others in the sector to move towards a more open and transparent approach, underpinned by the principles of Ethical Business Regulation and Practice. This approach, which relies on candour and honesty, will help Scottish Water to meet the challenges for the future it faces, including climate change.

 

 

2017

Competitive retail market opens in England, encompassing elements of the Scottish model.


2018

WICS embarks on an international project to support a programme of water reform in Romania. Our particular focus was on providing the technical support necessary to develop an effective information framework.

This year saw the start of what has become a long-term relationship with the water sector in New Zealand. Our work includes providing economic expertise to two water companies and providing regulatory advice more widely as the country moves through a process of water reform.

Find out more about how we support others internationally

Read more

Image
New Zealand city view

2019

Stakeholders jointly agree an ambitious new vision for the future of the water sector in Scotland, marking a new collaborative way of working between Scottish Water, its regulators and others.


2020

The Customer Forum and Scottish Water reach agreement that in making decisions Scottish Water should act at all times “as though customers were in the room”.

WICS publishes the final determination for 2021-27, encompassing a much longer term perspective underpinned by the expectation that Scottish Water will take greater ownership for both its business strategy and its relationship with customers.

Read the determination