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Schuh Enters Big Savings With Water Supplier Switch



A Scottish retail giant is set to slash annual overheads by around £62,000 – courtesy of a change in water supplier and the identification of the contribution of a small burn.

Schuh, the high street footwear group, has switched its water retail account for its 15 Scottish branches and Livingston headquarters to Thames Water Commercial Services Limited (TWCS) and as a result is set for £20-22,000 a year savings.

In addition, its 245,000 square foot Bathgate distribution hub has slashed its projected wastewater bills by around £40,000 per year, after the TWCS team identified that run off drainage was flowing into a local burn, rather than into the sewer network where it would incur business charges. This followed a competitive tendering and evaluation process managed on behalf of schuh by independent consultants Inprova Energy.

Colin Temple, Managing Director at schuh, said: “When we set out to switch supplier we were looking primarily to reduce our like-for-like bills. However, the team at TWCS has been very proactive in offering further services that save us time and money and quite simply go beyond what is expected.

“The extra attention to detail was evident at our Bathgate warehouse, where the knowledge and expertise of the TWCS team in spotting the significance of the burn quite literally unearthed new savings that would otherwise have gone completely unnoticed.

Previously, the facilities team at schuh had been faced with individual bills at every individual property in Scotland; however they will now receive a single consolidated bill as part of the TWCS service, saving valuable time, helping reduce transactional costs and removing hassle. This benefit was one of the key aspects behind the recommendation by Inprova Energy to appoint TWCS.

Alan Munro, who heads the Scottish team of TWCS, said: “This is quite an incredible story, in that we have been able to help schuh reduce their property drainage charges significantly simply through identifying that rainwater being discharged from the roofs  of the property was actually being discharged into a nearby burn and not into Scottish Water sewer network. Although this situation is not too common, it is something all businesses should be aware of as property drainage charges can potentially make up a significant part of any business customers water bill.”

Savings made through identifying that the water was being discharged into the burn, on top of the savings through switching to TWCS, has significantly helped to cut costs for the Scottish retail institution.

It belies a more important message

Alan Munro added: “It belies a more important message: firms must look to suppliers that are capable of delivering services that go beyond simple cost-cutting and in doing so take advantage of the great opportunities that Scotland’s trailblazing open water market offers.”

Since 2008 – the first time in the world that a retail market was opened to competition – around 130,000 non-household customers in Scotland have been able to choose who can supply their water and wastewater services.

The sector is still led by Scottish Water subsidiary Business Stream, the default supplier following market deregulation, but this is simply because many businesses remain unaware of the potential cost saving and other benefits of moving to another supplier.

TWCS offers businesses and organisations the added value of developing strategies to better manage their water and waste services; even offering educational support to help enforce cultural change to show employees how to use water more efficiently.

Operating in Scotland for three years, TWCS is continuing to attract many leading Scottish businesses from across a wide range of sectors including banking, finance, hotels, leisure, commercial, education and retail sectors.

It has been based in Edinburgh but has moved to Linlithgow to allow it to work from a central Scotland base to service its customers and growth ambitions.

The firm is part of the Thames Water Group, the UK’s biggest provider of water and wastewater services serving 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, and with a heritage dating back 400 years.

Inprova Energy is the UK energy & water division of procurement outsourcing specialist, Inprova Group.

Water market reform in England

On 1 April 2017, the non-domestic water market in England will be fully open to competition, allowing businesses to switch water provider in the same way as Scottish businesses  already can.

Inprova Energy has published a free eGuide to help organisations in England prepare for water market reform.

Download the Inprova Energy  guide ‘Preparing for UK water market reform and competition’

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