Your Guide to
Our Code of Practice
ADDENDUM JUNE 2007
Please note that wherever we refer to 'customers' in this code
of practice we are only referring to 'household' and 'wholesale'
customers of Scottish Water.
Page 16 – the Floodline telephone number is operated by
SEPA and we are now calling it the 'SEPA Floodline'.
Page 23 – the last line in the first paragraph is incorrect.
It reads, 'If the Commission rejects the charges, they are
submitted to the Scottish Ministers for a final decision.'
Correct information can be found on page 27 under 'Charges'.
Back page – the 'head office' address listed is our customer
correspondence address for all written enquiries.
Scottish Water head office is located at:
6 Castle Drive, Dunfermline, Fife, KY11 8GG.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 01
About Scottish Water 02 Our charges and how you can pay 23
• Who we are 03 • Water meters 23
• What we do 04 • Leaks and meter accuracy 24
• How to contact us 04 • Metered water charges 24
• Difficulty paying? 24
Our services 05
• Getting connected 05 If you have a complaint 25
• Our services and the environment 05 • If you're still not satisfied 25
• Water quality 05 • Guaranteed Standards Payments 26
• Quantity and pressure 06 • Compensation and goodwill payments 26
• The waste water system 08
• Waste water treatment 08 Who we answer to 27
• De-sludging septic tanks 09 • Charges 27
• Objectives 27
Our Guaranteed Standards 10 • Standards of service 28
• Keeping appointments 11 • Environmental quality 28
• Planned interruptions to your water supply 11 • Water quality 29
• Emergency interruptions to your water supply 12
• Water getting into gas systems 12 The water industry in Scotland 30
• Pressure complaints 13
• Response to major incidents 14 Who does what 31
• Flooding 15
• Flooding from sewers 16 Our Guaranteed Standards
• Extreme weather conditions 17 summarised 32
• Payment enquiries 17
• Written or telephone complaints 17 How to contact us Back Page
• Meter applications 18
• How you can claim and how we will pay 18
Working with you 19
• Keeping you informed 19
• Special services 20
• How to register for special services 21
• Other languages 21
• Keeping you safe 22
02 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
Welcome to our Code of Practice.
This booklet explains:
• who we are;
• what services we provide;
• the standards of service you can expect from us;
• how you can contact us.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 03
Customer service is at the very heart of
our business. We aim to get it right first time
and deliver on our promises – to do what
we say and do it when we say. By working
in partnership with you, we will continuously
seek to meet your needs.
Who we are
Scottish Water provides water and waste water
services throughout Scotland. We are owned by
and responsible to the Scottish Parliament and
the people of Scotland.
Scottish Water values our place in the
communities of Scotland and we will work
hard with you to establish relationships, and
maintain communications with individuals and
representative groups. We recognise that
managing natural resources, delivering safe
clean water to our customers and returning it to
the environment makes a major contribution to
the health of the communities we serve. We
continuously strive for efficiency and success as
we invest in our services.
We recognise the value of communication
and know that listening to you, our customer,
is key to developing appropriate services and
investment programmes. We value your opinion
and appreciate any contact you make whether
you choose to talk to us face to face, by phone,
letter or e-mail. We will seek out representative
customer and community groups and ask for
their input to our plans and projects.
We aim to increase choice for our customers;
choice in the types of products and services that
we offer; choice in the way you can contact us
and give us your views; and choice in the way you
pay for the products and services that we offer.
04 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
What we do
Scottish Water is responsible for providing For customers with hearing difficulties we
water and waste water services in Scotland. also subscribe to the Royal National Institute
for Deaf People (RNID) Typetalk service.
We supply high quality water to our Our administration centres have an induction
customers to standards set out in various loop system for customers with hearing aids.
laws. We remove and treat waste water from We also offer translations of key documents
properties and roads. Waste water is then for customers who request them, and Braille
discharged to rivers and coastal waters within or taped versions of the same documents.
standards set to protect the environment.
You can also contact us by e-mail at
We have responsibilities under Water Byelaws firstname.lastname@example.org
to protect the quality of water supplies and or by visiting our website on
prevent water wastage. www.scottishwater.co.uk
In addition to the above we also accept and Our website also includes large print and
deal with trade effluent from industrial and audio sections for customers with impaired
commercial premises as well as de-sludging sight. We are also happy to explain our
private septic tanks. services to you in person or attend public
meetings when asked to do so. All our contact
How to contact us details are listed on the back of this Code
We aim to make it as easy as possible to of Practice.
contact us. We have
• a Customer Helpline 0845 601 8855
for general customer enquiries,
complaints and requests;
• a 24-hour Emergency Helpline
0845 600 8855;
• a Textphone number 0845 603 8855
for customers with hearing difficulties; and
• an Access Line 0845 606 8855 for
customers requiring special services,
see the next column.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 05
Getting connected Our services and the environment
If you want to get connected to the public We play a key role in maintaining and
water supply or waste water system, improving the environment. We’re committed
please call our Customer Helpline on to ensuring that our activities strike the
0845 601 8855 for advice and information right balance between the needs of the
on how to do so. environment and those of the communities
we serve. Using water more efficiently is an
For a water connection we’ll check if there important way of protecting this essential
is a water main accessible and send you an natural resource and we’re happy to offer
estimate for the connection cost, together advice to all our customers on water efficiency.
with any special requirements.
We take a keen interest in education and are
For a sewer connection we’ll check if our happy to participate in local school programmes
sewers and treatment works are big enough to raise the awareness of the need to protect
to take the waste water and send you an our environment.
agreement, called a consent, and details
of any special requirements. We’ll also give Water quality
you a quotation to cover the cost of finding Drinking water quality in the UK is subject to
out if a connection is possible and making some of the tightest regulations in the world.
sure the work is carried out to our standards. The water we supply must meet these
standards, except where the Scottish Executive
Sometimes we may need to extend our water allows relaxed standards. These relaxations/
pipes or sewers to connect to new properties. authorised departures are usually for a limited
If you are developing a new site, or building period whilst we carry out improvements.
your own home, please contact us as early as Where water quality is not consistently
possible in your planning process, so that we meeting these standards, we have agreed an
can give you the best advice. improvement programme with the Drinking
Water Quality Regulator for Scotland (DWQR).
06 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you wish to report a problem please call our
Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
The Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) inspectors to make sure it meets with
monitors and regulates the quality of the Water Byelaw standards. You can get a copy
water we deliver to you. The DWQR can of the current Water Byelaws and arrange
be contacted at PO Box 23598, Edinburgh, a property check by calling our Customer
EH6 6WW, at www.dwqr.org.uk or email Helpline on 0845 601 8855 and asking
email@example.com to speak to a member of the Water Byelaws
team or by emailing
If you want a copy of the water quality data firstname.lastname@example.org
for the water supply to your property call our
Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855. Occasionally lead plumbing can cause water
We will confirm the name of the supply quality problems. Older properties are more
feeding your property and send you a copy likely to have lead plumbing. We’ll replace
of the last annual quality summary from the our part of any lead pipe, free of charge,
Public Register of Water Quality for that supply. when you renew your own parts. We also
replace any of our own lead pipes when
We analyse many thousands of water samples we’re doing major works on our water mains.
each year to make sure your drinking water is Please contact your local council for advice on
safe. Almost 100% of these samples meet the grants available for replacing your lead pipes.
standards, those that don’t usually fail by a If you would like Scottish Water to check your
very small margin. If there is a serious failure property for lead pipes, please contact our
we must notify the local health board, the Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855 to
local council and the DWQR as soon as possible. arrange an appointment.
In these instances, it may be necessary to
advise you not to use the water or to boil your Quantity and pressure
water before using it. As a result, if we advise We take water from rivers, lochs, springs
you not to use your tap water we’ll provide and boreholes and treat it to make it safe for
an alternative water supply for you to use. you to drink. Generally there is enough of this
raw, untreated water to meet our customers’
We also have Water Byelaws to protect public needs. However, in exceptional circumstances
water supplies against the risk of waste and such as prolonged hot, dry weather we may
contamination. For this reason it is important have difficulties in maintaining supplies direct
to have any new or altered plumbing in to you. If so, we may ask you to use less water
your property checked by one of our water or, in extreme conditions, introduce hosepipe
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 07
restrictions to help maintain the public water Leaking pipes can reduce pressure, damage
supply. We must provide enough safe water property and risk allowing bacteria into the
for normal household use. supply. So if there’s a leak on the pipework
you’re responsible for, you must fix it as soon
We aim to supply water at a pressure of 1 bar, as you can.
also known as 10 metres static head (static
head is the pressure that would be recorded If you see a water leak in the street please
when no water is flowing in the pipe to report it to our Customer Helpline on
the property). This pressure would be high 0845 601 8855 and we will investigate it
enough to fill a 10-litre household bucket in as soon as possible.
around one minute or to fill a storage tank
in the attic of a two-storey building. Phone Your property is connected to the water
our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855 main by a smaller pipe that’s divided into two
for advice if you’re thinking about installing sections. Generally the part in the street is our
appliances such as electric showers and responsibility and the other section, which is
pressurised hot water systems, and you know usually within your property boundary, is your
that your pressure is poor, as they may not responsibility. The following diagram shows a
work as well as you expect. typical example.
08 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you have any doubt about the accessibility
of your septic tank please call our
Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
The waste water system then charge you. If your property is at risk
Most of the sewers in use today were built of flooding, we’ll do all we can to help you
many years ago. The amount of waste water until your plumber arrives.
from homes and businesses, together with
surface water from roofs and roads, has Scottish Water will work with the Scottish
greatly increased over time. Although we Executive, SEPA, local councils, the Police,
make every effort to maintain these sewers Fire brigades and the electricity companies
they’re not always able to cope with extreme to reduce the impact of floods if they occur.
weather conditions. For flooding from water mains or sewers
please call our Emergency Helpline on
The most common causes of flooding are 0845 600 8855.
blockages due to unsuitable items being
flushed down sinks and toilets. These are Waste water treatment
items such as cooking fat, female hygiene We’re also responsible for treating and safely
products, disposable nappies, condoms and disposing the waste water from homes and
cotton buds. These regularly cause problems businesses. In addition to this, surface water
that can result in flooding as well as the from roofs, pavements and public roads
unsightly pollution of our rivers and beaches. makes up around a third of the waste water
Our ‘Bag It and Bin It – Don’t Flush It’ that we have to deal with. The Scottish
campaign promotes the importance of Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) sets
putting these kinds of items into a bag standards for our waste water treatment
and putting this bag into a nearby bin. works and as a result we closely monitor how
For a 'Bag It and Bin It' leaflet please visit our treatment works perform, with SEPA also
www.scottishwater.co.uk or call our carrying out regular checks to make sure that
Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855. we meet the standards.
We respond to blockages as quickly as possible, As many of our waste water treatment works
unless it is agreed with you that the problem and pumping stations are close to housing,
isn’t urgent. Please call our Emergency we will do our utmost to prevent nuisance
Helpline on 0845 600 8855. If the problem from smells and noise and will respond
is in your private drains, generally those within promptly to any reported problems. We also
your property, we’ll either advise you to call a aim to work closely with Local Authority
qualified plumber to clear them, or alternatively, Environmental Health teams to investigate
if you’ve asked us to clear them we may particular issues and keep them up to date.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 09
De-sludging septic tanks
We will de-sludge household septic tanks
as quickly as possible when you contact us
to request this service. In order to do this
there must be reasonable access to the
tank. The tank must be well maintained and
have been regularly de-sludged in the past.
Our tankers are large vehicles, up to 44 tonnes
in weight (fully loaded), 15 metres long,
2.5 metres wide and 3.3 metres high. If the
layout of your property prevents the tanker
from gaining proper safe access then we
may not be able to provide the service.
To help keep the de-sludging charge as
economical as possible we can de-sludge
your tank at an agreed interval and charge.
This scheduled service removes the worry of
potential flooding or pollution problems if
you forget to ask for your tank to be regularly
de-sludged. For more details on all our
septic tank services and a copy of our terms
and conditions please call our Customer
Helpline on 0845 601 8855 for our Septic
Tank information pack.
10 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
Our Guaranteed Standards cover our most important services
to our customers. We also have service targets set in place for
important areas. These areas include the speed of our telephone
response when you call our helplines and our speed in replying
to your written requests for information, whether via the post
or e-mail. Although these are not guaranteed service standards,
we do aim to provide a quality service to our customers in these
areas as well.
If we fail to meet a service standard we’ll usually make a payment
automatically. However, for our standards relating to planned
interruptions, emergency interruptions, pressure complaints and
our response during major incidents, we ask customers themselves
to make a claim directly. Details of how to make a claim are
provided on page 18 of this booklet.
In circumstances outwith our control, such as severe weather,
industrial action or the actions of others, we unfortunately cannot
guarantee these standards. In some situations, for example, where
we delay a response to a customer’s request, a guaranteed
standards payment may not be appropriate.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 11
Keeping appointments If the work is planned to last more than
Please call our Customer Helpline on 4 hours we will give you at least 48 hours
0845 601 8855 to arrange any appointments notice before we turn the water off. We aim
to meet with Scottish Water. If we make an to notify you individually, however, where
appointment more than 24 hours in advance large areas are affected we may need to use
we guarantee to keep it, or give you at least the local media as one of our communication
24 hours notice of cancelling or changing it. routes to our customers.
Please let us know if you prefer a morning or
afternoon appointment, or alternatively, if you You can claim £20 from us:
would like to be offered a 2-hour time band • if we fail to warn you before the
within which our representative will visit. interruption; or
• if we fail to restore your water by
We’ll automatically pay you £20: the notified time.
• if we don’t turn up on the appointed
morning, afternoon or within the agreed You can also claim a further £20 for
2-hour time band; or each additional 12-hour period you are
• if we fail to let you know about a changed without water.
appointment time at least 24 hours
in advance. We appreciate that lengthy interruptions
without water can cause our customers
Planned interruptions to your inconvenience, and during these we’ll do
water supply our very best to provide you with alternative
We’ll let you know in advance about essential drinking water supplies at key locations,
maintenance or repair work that will mean usually within 8 hours of the supply failing.
shutting off your water supply. We’ll let you
know when the water supply will be turned If we need to dig up footpaths and roads for
off and for how long. The only exception to essential maintenance, repairs and improvement
this is, when leakage detection work is carried work, we’ll keep disruption to a minimum.
out overnight (this is generally done between We’ll contact you in advance if we have to
midnight and 6am) when supplies may be work across the access to your property
affected from time to time. during planned work, and try our best to avoid
inconvenient times for you. In an emergency,
such as a burst pipe, we may need to restrict
12 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you wish to report a problem please call our
Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
or block access to your property. On all Water getting into gas systems
our street works, display signboards will be If you notice water coming from a gas
located giving our contact telephone number appliance, or if you lose your gas supply
for any queries that you may have. Once the because water has entered your gas pipe,
work is complete we aim to permanently please call our Emergency Helpline
reinstate the road within 6 months. on 0845 600 8855 as quickly as possible.
We’ll contact Transco immediately and work
If a faulty manhole/access cover belonging with them to ensure your safety. We will
to us is reported damaged to our Customer return your call within 2 hours of your initial
Helpline on 0845 601 8855 we’ll carry out call to explain what happens next.
repairs as quickly as possible, and within 24
hours if considered dangerous. If we don’t do this we’ll automatically pay
Emergency interruptions to your
water supply To ensure your safety please take the
If the public water supply to your home is following steps until the problem has been
interrupted unexpectedly we will restore the fixed:
supply within 12 hours from the time we find • if you are able to, turn gas off at the meter
out about the interruption. If a strategic main and don't turn back on until the problem
(a large main serving a large area) causes the has been resolved;
problem, the water supply will be restored • extinguish all naked flames;
within 48 hours of us finding out about • turn off all gas appliances;
the interruption. • don't use any appliances until a Transco
engineer has checked them and given the
You can claim £20 if we don’t restore the all clear;
supply within these time periods. You can • open any nearby doors and windows;
claim a further £10 for each additional • don't turn any electrical switches on; and
12-hour period without water. • when the engineer calls at the property
don't use any electrical telephones or
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 13
Pressure complaints 11 detailing our Guaranteed Standards for
As previously mentioned on page 6, handling planned and unplanned interruptions.
we aim to supply water at a minimum
pressure of 1 bar, also known as 10 metres Please let us know if you have any problems
static head (static head is the pressure that with water pressure to your property by
would be recorded when no water is flowing phoning our Customer Helpline on
in the pipe to the property). This pressure 0845 601 8855. We’ll investigate the
would be high enough to fill a 10-litre cause and let you know what we find.
household bucket in around one minute
or to fill a storage tank in the attic of a When we investigate a pressure problem we’ll
two-storey building. check the pressure in the main and at your
property. We’ll let you know the outcome of
In locations where properties are very this within 5 working days.
close to the level of our water storage If we don’t do this you can claim £20.
tanks, we recommend that you seek our
advice before installing appliances such as We’ll pay you £20 if:
electric showers and pressurised hot water • we investigate and measure a supply to
systems, as they may not work as well as your property of less than 1 bar of pressure
you expect. measured on your side of the boundary
stopcock/stop valve (a normal domestic
Factors that may affect the water pressure shower needs a minimum of one bar
of the supply to your property include: to operate); and
• the condition of the pipework within your • the low pressure is caused by our
property; supply system.
• whether you share your supply with other
properties; and You will only be entitled to this payment once
• the height of your property compared to in any 6-month period.
the main – for example, water may need
to be pumped uphill to your property. You will not be able to claim against this
standard if you live in a property that is:
Sudden and unusual drops in pressure may be • above the level of water leaving our
caused by a burst water main or repair work in storage tank;
the area. Please refer to the section on page and
14 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you’re in any doubt give us a call on
0845 601 8855 and we’ll advise you.
• between the level of the water leaving our following Emergency Standards of Service
storage tank and a level 10.5 metres below will then apply:
the tank. • we’ll provide regular information updates
at least every 48 hours to communities
This is because we cannot guarantee that the affected by a major incident. Various mass
required pressure can be reached without communications techniques such as radio,
pumping or a water storage facility being TV, leaflet drops, loudhailers, posters and
required. bulletins on our website, will be used to
announce regular updates;
Danger of using metal water pipes • if normal water supplies are interrupted,
as electrical earths or if water isn’t fit to drink, we’ll provide
If your property has a metal water service alternative supplies within 24 hours of the
pipe, which is used for earthing, this is no major incident being declared. In very
longer thought to be safe, and has not been large-scale incidents, alternative supplies
allowed since 1966. Buildings built before this will be provided to you within 48 hours;
date may still be earthed in this way, and any • we keep a list of vulnerable customers,
plumbing work may make the pipe unsuitable and during any major incident we will
for using as an electrical earth. We suggest deliver a reasonable supply of drinking
that you get advice from your local electrical water to them. If we are notified of a
supply company or another approved vulnerable customer in a household during
electrician about these pipes. You may the incident, drinking water will also be
have to pay for this service. supplied to them. Vulnerable customers are
considered as those who are elderly or
Response in major incidents infirm, and babies under 1 year old.
We’ll make every effort to maintain water
and waste water services at all times.
However, the complexity of our service can
sometimes mean that large numbers of
customers experience a disruption to their
service. Examples include: contamination
of the water supply, interruptions to supply
and large-scale flooding from water mains
or sewers. If this happens we will declare
that the event is a major incident and the
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 15
• If we fail to meet these Emergency
Standards of Service, our customers directly
affected by a declared major incident can
claim compensation. The scale of payment
for household customers will range from
£20 -£100, depending on the nature of the
incident and the length of time that we
failed to deliver the standard of service.
• We’ll provide regular information updates
at least every 48 hours to communities
affected by a major incident.
We’ll give priority to cases where flooding
inside the property is an immediate danger.
If the inside of your property is flooded with
waste water you may be due a payment and
we will help to clean up the mess under our
Property flooding is a traumatic experience
for everyone who is affected by it. It can
either be caused by extreme weather
conditions, burst water mains or flooding
from public sewers.
If your property is flooded we will give
you a named contact and they will keep
in touch with you, offering help and advice
throughout this difficult time. We always
advise customers to claim through their
own insurance in the first instance as these
companies are experienced in dealing with
16 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
For particular information regarding your
area during stormy conditions, please call the
Floodline on 0845 988 1188. This service
tells you what to do if floodwater is threatening
your property. Flood warnings are also broadcast
on national TV and radio.
these difficult situations and most policies Flooding from sewers
cover new-for-old payments. If waste water from our sewers floods
the inside of your property please inform
If you’ve been flooded, our representative us as quickly as possible by calling our
will make sure that clean up operations Emergency Helpline on 0845 600 8855.
are organised and help you liaise with We aim to attend to this as quickly as we can.
your insurance company. We will also This is usually within 4 hours and we will
liaise with them to make sure that alternative investigate the cause of the flooding.
accommodation is available if your house
is affected by internal flooding. For those In recognition of this disturbance, we’ll
customers without the right insurance automatically refund your annual waste water
cover, or no cover at all, Scottish Water charge for your property (up to a maximum of
will pay for alternative accommodation £1,000 per flooding event). This is providing
if required. that the problem isn’t due to general surface
flooding of the area, a defect in your private
Alternative accommodation will be arranged drains or as a result of your own actions.
where you lose either the use of your toilet We’ll clear up as quickly as possible any mess
or cooking facilities, lose electrical power or directly caused by the overflow of waste water
have no suitable place to sleep. We will make from the public sewer.
alternative accommodation available until
these facilities have been restored. We recognise that household flooding is
an extremely distressing experience for
If you do not have the right insurance cover our customers and therefore we have put
or no cover at all, and Scottish Water is not a support package in place which aims
legally liable for the damage caused by the to give practical help and advice to our
flooding, we may still be able to help with a customers facing this problem. To obtain
goodwill payment towards your other costs. more information about our Floodcare
Scheme please call our Customer Helpline
on 0845 601 8855 or visit our website
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 17
Scottish Water will refund insurance excess tank de-sludging charges, we'll always try to
costs to those customers who suffer a sewer deal with your enquiry whilst you are still on
flooding event that has NOT been caused by the line. However, if some work is actually
your own actions or widespread flooding due required on your account we’ll respond to
to extreme weather. this within 10 working days. If you ask for a
change to your payment method we’ll deal
As many of our waste water treatment works with this enquiry within 5 working days.
and pumping stations are close to housing,
we will do our best to prevent nuisance from If we fail to do either of these we’ll
smells and noise and will respond promptly to automatically pay you £20.
any reported problems.
Written or telephone complaints
Extreme weather If you call us with a complaint we’ll try to
Severe rainfall can cause floods which affect resolve the problem when you call. However,
large areas of the countryside and towns. if this isn’t possible your complaint will be
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency investigated and we will call you back promptly.
(SEPA) operates a Floodline service, which If you want a written response to your complaint
issues flood watches and warnings to help we’ll reply within 10 working days.
make people aware of the risks of flooding.
If you write to, fax or e-mail us with a complaint
Payment enquiries we’ll respond as quickly as possible and always
If you wish to discuss payment of your within 10 working days. Where an immediate
household water or waste water charges full response is not possible we’ll regularly
please refer to the contact details on your keep you informed of progress in resolving
Council Tax bill. The local council collects the problem.
these charges on our behalf and will respond
to any enquiries that you may have about We’ll automatically pay you £20 if we fail to
your household water or waste water respond within 10 days:
payment process. • to your written complaint; or
• to a complaint by telephone in
If you call our Helpline on 0845 602 8855 which you ask for a written response.
about any aspect of a charge that we invoice
directly for example, metered water or septic
18 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
Meter applications You must make claims against our Guaranteed
If you contact our Customer Helpline on Standards within three months of the event.
0845 601 8855 requesting a water meter
to be fitted, we’ll carry out a property survey. If a Guaranteed Standards payment is due
There will be a charge for the survey. This will we’ll make a payment within 10 working days
establish if a meter can actually be fitted. of the failure, or from when we receive your
We’ll let you know within 10 working days claim. If we fail to do this we’ll automatically
what is required to allow a meter to be fitted pay you a further £20. We’ll normally make
and the costs involved. If we fail to do this payment by crediting the account of the
we’ll automatically pay you £20. person normally responsible for paying water
or waste water charges.
We aim to install a meter within 15 working
days of agreeing with you the installation However, if you have an outstanding account
arrangements, and having any necessary with us we may off-set the compensation
costs paid. The installation arrangements amount against your outstanding balance.
will include any alterations required to the Compensation may be withheld or reduced
plumbing system inside the property. If we if you’ve been shown to be fully or partly
don’t achieve this, your account will still be at fault.
changed to the metered water charge from
this target date. However, you will only be
invoiced for the annual fixed charge for your
meter until it is actually installed.
How you can claim and how we will pay
You can register claims against
Scottish Water by:
• calling our Customer Helpline on
0845 601 8855;
• e-mailing us at
• writing to
Customer Relations, Scottish Water,
PO Box 8855, Edinburgh, EH10 6YQ.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 19
Working with you
Keeping you informed requirements. If we need to lay a new water
If we have a burst water main we are not main or sewer we’ll give you a legal notice
always able to warn you before your water well in advance to allow you time to consider
supply goes off. However, if you call our our proposals. However, sometimes we
Emergency Helpline on 0845 600 8855 need urgent access, for instance to repair
we’ll tell you when we expect supplies to be a burst water main and, although we'll still
restored to the area and also, if there is to be do all we can to contact you first, this won’t
a lengthy interruption, where you can get always be possible. We will update you as
alternative water supplies. soon as we can, letting you know what we
have done and why, and how any damage
If we have a water quality problem, which incurred can be compensated and rectified
means that you can’t use the water or need (see also page 26 regarding compensation
to restrict your use, we’ll let you know either and goodwill payments).
by personal contact or in writing. If this
affects many properties or a large area, We’ll consult widely with local councils and
we will use loud hailers along with local community organisations on how we can
or national media to inform our customers. minimise the impact of our work, and explain
We will always let you know when your water the benefits it will bring to the local area.
supply is back to normal.
As your water services provider we have
If we’re doing planned work on our water or powers of entry to premises under the Water
waste water systems we’ll keep any disruption (Scotland) Act 1980. This means that we have
to you to a minimum. We will always give the right to gain access to your premises to
you warning, usually in writing. If the work is carry out some essential duties when required.
likely to be lengthy and disruptive we’ll give as For example, if we provide 24 hours notice to
much notice as we can to our customers who you, we have the right to enter any premises
are likely to be affected by the work. We’ll at all reasonable hours to examine meters,
issue leaflets explaining what we are doing to check for Water Byelaw contraventions or
and why we are doing it. carry out essential work. We also have the
right to enter premises to investigate water
If we have to access your land we’ll always wastage or misuse. In the examples given
try to contact you in advance, in writing here it would be an offence to refuse us
or face-to-face, to notify you of our entry to your property. If we have to enter
20 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
any property for any of the reasons listed If you are particularly vulnerable during supply
above we would confirm in writing to the interruptions, and may be unable to reach
owner why we had to have access and what alternative supplies (for example, if your
was done by our staff whilst on the premises. health could be put at risk, or if you have
mobility problems) or if you are particularly
If you want to know where our water mains vulnerable during drinking water
or sewers are located, records are kept at our contamination incidents or during boil water
administration centres. Records are also kept incidents, we will:
of the results of water samples we take from • give individual notification about an
any of our customers’ taps. You can inspect incident as soon as an incident is identified;
these records at our administration centres, and
for more details please call our Customer • deliver bottled water.
Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
If you have difficulties communicating or
Special Services receiving information (for example, if you
We can provide our services to you in a way have a hearing or speech impairment, if
that makes your life easier. you’re blind or partially sighted, or if you
have learning difficulties) we can:
If you have a specific need, such as a disability • use textphone facilities on 0845 603 8855
or medical condition, you can choose to have and use Typetalk services when appropriate;
your name, address and a note of any special • provide information in large print
services you require listed on our confidential (14 point minimum);
Special Services register. • provide information in Braille or on audio
cassette if requested; and
We have links with local and national • offer a personal telephone call or visit to
organisations representing customers with help with problems relating to our water
additional service needs. This liaison work and waste water services and explain what
ensures that we provide the most appropriate we will do about it.
service to you and is also another means of
publicising the services that we can offer you. If you are vulnerable to bogus callers we will
If you register and let us know your needs the offer an appointment with the option of a
following services can be provided to you. password for your protection.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 21
Scottish Water has an Access Line on
0845 606 8855 where our customer advisers
will ask you which language you require and
will then set up a three-way conversation
with an interpreter in your chosen language.
How to register for Special Services
You, a family member, or a friend can register,
or tell us about any changes in your needs, by:
• calling our Access Line on 0845 606 8855,
through our textphone facilities on
0845 603 8855 or by using the
• registering through our web site at
• by writing to us at
Special Services, Scottish Water,
PO Box 8855, Edinburgh, EH10 6YQ.
Services for customers who want access
to our information in a language other
Scottish Water has an Access Line on
0845 606 8855 where our Customer Advisers
will ask you which language you require and
will then set up a three-way conversation
with an interpreter in your chosen language.
This service can be delivered during your initial
call or a ‘call back’ can be arranged at a time
that is more convenient to you. Copies of our
literature can also be translated on request.
These will take up to 10 days to reach you.
In addition to this, our major emergency
customer notification leaflets carry easily
recognisable symbols and key phrase
translations that are easy to understand.
22 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
Keeping you safe
We are committed to helping to reduce
crimes carried out by people impersonating
Scottish Water workers. Because of this,
and for your protection, our employees carry
identification cards with photographs. They
will usually drive vehicles that are clearly
marked with our Scottish Water logo and
our employees will not ask for or accept any
money from you at your home. If you have
any doubts about the identification of someone
calling at your home and claiming to be from
Scottish Water, do not let them into your home.
Scottish Water employees will be happy to
wait outside while you confirm their identity.
Always follow our 3 C’s rule
CHAIN, CHECK, CALL.
1. Use a door CHAIN if you have one and ask
to see the caller's identification card. If they
don’t have one then send them away.
2.CHECK the identification card carefully:
• Is the photo the same as the person at
• Does the card contain the Scottish Water
contact telephone number?
• Has the card been tampered with in
3.If you are in any doubt about the caller’s
identity please CALL our Customer
Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
If you are in any doubt the caller should
not be allowed access.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 23
Our charges and
how you can pay
As we are a public organisation the charges Please read the back of your Scottish Water
that we collect for our services are our main invoice for details on how to pay.
source of income. These charges are set to
recover the cost of the services that we For household customers without a water
provide to our customers. These charges are meter, please see your Council Tax bill for
normally effective from the beginning of each payment options. If your property is
financial year, that is, from 1 April. The Water connected to the public water supply then
Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) you will pay water charges. If your property
regulates our charges and has to approve is connected to the public sewers for either
them before they can take effect. waste water or property drainage then
you will pay waste water charges.
To get full details of all our charges please Please phone our Customer Helpline
contact the Customer Helpline on on 0845 601 8855 if you want to enquire
0845 601 8855 to request a copy of further about the type of connections you have.
the current Scheme of Charges leaflet,
or alternatively you can download copies Water meters
from our website at: If you wish, and it is more practical for you,
www.scottishwater.co.uk/household you can choose to have a water meter
installed in your property. We’ll tell you if you
For customers invoiced direct from Scottish are able to have this done and we’ll also help
Water, you can pay your invoice in several you to work out what your water and waste
different ways: water invoices are likely to be when you have
• by Direct Debit; the water meter installed. Please call us on
• at a bank; our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855
• by Girobank Account; and we will be happy to advise you on all
• at a Post Office; aspects of metering your property.
• by post; or
• by credit or debit card.
24 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you’re in any doubt give us a call on
0845 601 8855 and we’ll advise you.
Leaks and meter accuracy Metered water charges
If your property is fitted with a meter and Household water and waste water bills are
there’s a leak in your pipes you will have normally based on the Council Tax banding
to pay for the water lost through this leak, of your house and are paid in one payment
although you may find that your buildings or by instalments to your local council who
insurance may cover you for this. If not, and collect the payments on our behalf. If your
the leak results in a particularly high invoice house is fitted with a water meter we will
that you find difficult to pay, please call the send you a combined water and waste water
telephone number on your invoice and we’ll invoice quarterly. If you have a meter you can
do all we can to help you. pay Scottish Water direct either in full or by
an instalment plan such as Direct Debit.
If you suspect that your meter isn’t working
properly, please let us know by calling our Difficulty paying?
Helpline on 0845 602 8855. If you find it difficult to pay an invoice or to
keep up with your payments please call the
We can carry out a meter accuracy test for telephone number on your invoice for advice
you. If the meter is reading too high or too as soon as possible. The sooner you let us
low (by more than 5%) we’ll recalculate your know you’re in difficulty, the sooner we can
invoice accordingly. If the meter is accurate, try to help.
to within 5%, we’ll charge you the cost of
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 25
If you have
If you complain in writing, by e-mail or by
telephone, we’ll respond by the times set
out by our Guaranteed Standards.
If you have a complaint about Scottish Water
please let us know and we’ll do all we can
to resolve it. Full details of how to contact
us are located on the back cover of this
If you phone our Customer Helpline on
0845 601 8855 our Customer Advisors will
try to resolve your complaint immediately.
If our Customer Advisor can’t do so, he/she
will find the answer for you and call you
back as soon as possible.
If you're still not satisfied
If you’re not happy with our response
please phone our Customer Helpline on
0845 601 8855 and ask to speak to a senior
member of our Customer Service team, who
will review our response.
We’ll let you know the results of this review
as quickly as possible. We keep a record of
all complaints and report these every quarter
to Waterwatch Scotland, as the independent
complaints handling and consumer
representative body in the Scottish water
26 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you remain disatisfied with our response, Compensation and goodwill payments
you can contact Waterwatch Scotland direct: If we’ve damaged your property as a result
• on 0845 850 3344; of our activities, for instance in repairing or
• via fax on 01259 214218; laying a water pipe, you can claim compensation
• via e-mail to for damage to your land or crops.
or If we’ve made mistakes or inconvenienced
• in writing to you through shortcomings in our service, we
Waterwatch Scotland may be able to offer you a goodwill payment
Corporate Office even if we aren’t liable. Each situation will be
Forrester Lodge considered on an individual basis.
Alloa If you feel that you may be due compensation
FK10 2HU our Customer Advisors will explain what
information we need to be able to consider
In some circumstances you have the right your claim. We handle most claims by
of appeal to the Scottish Executive. If you telephone, but in some cases we may need a
want to appeal you should ask the Scottish claim in writing. We will acknowledge receipt
Executive for their ‘Guide to Appeals’ leaflet of your claim and either reply to you directly
by calling 0845 278 1999. In some cases, ourselves or via our insurers to review the
a Sheriff will decide an appeal. If you’re in claim details.
doubt please contact Scottish Water or
Waterwatch Scotland for more details If you’d like to know more about how and
about this. when you can claim compensation please call
our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
Guaranteed Standards payments
Most of our Guaranteed Standards payments If we make a goodwill payment it doesn’t
will be paid automatically if we fail to meet affect any legal rights you may have and it
the relevant standard. In some circumstances doesn’t mean that we accept any legal liability.
we ask you to make a claim, usually by
phoning our Customer Helpline on
0845 601 8855.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 27
We answer to you,
We’re a public organisation and we rely on the
money we raise through our charges to provide
services to customers. We normally set our
charges at the beginning of each financial
year: that is, from 1 April. The Water Industry
Commission for Scotland (WICS) sets charge
limits for each year in a regulatory period –
currently for the four years from April 2006 –
March 2010. Our annual Scheme of Charges
has to be set within these charge limits. The
Commission has a duty to set the charge
limits at the lowest reasonable overall cost to
deliver Ministers’ objectives.
In Scotland, Ministers alone have the
legal power to determine the objectives for
Scottish Water. The objectives are set for each
four-year period through legal Directions.
28 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
If you wish to report a problem please call our
Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855.
Standards of service
The Commission has set targets for the
standards of service that we provide and how
we deal with our customers. The Commission
has approved this Code of Practice to make
sure it is comprehensive and meets all the
If you’re not satisfied with the service
you receive from us after speaking with
a senior member of our Customer Service
team, you can ask us to pass the details of
your complaint on to Waterwatch Scotland
for you. Alternatively you can contact
Waterwatch Scotland on 0845 850 3344.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency
(SEPA) has duties to protect and improve
Scotland's environment. It monitors the
outputs of our water and waste water
treatment works and ensures that we
comply with the legal discharge consents
that have been put in place.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 29
To make sure that water quality standards are
met, an independent water quality regulator,
the Drinking Water Quality Regulator for
Scotland (DWQR), advises Ministers about
where improvements are needed to meet
existing standards and any higher standards
that new laws may demand. This regulator
also audits our water quality performance
to make sure the water we supply is safe.
30 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
The water industry in Scotland
This section summarises the main The Water Industry
responsibilities of organisations Commission
and other parties within the water for Scotland:
industry sector. phone 01786 430 200
• sets limits on our charges at the lowest
Waterwatch reasonable overall cost;
Scotland: • approves our Code of Practice for customers;
phone 0845 850 3344 and
• investigates complaints against • regularly reviews how well we perform,
Scottish Water; including against our guaranteed standards.
• represents the views and interests of
consumers within the water industry by The Drinking Water Quality
publishing reports and making Regulator for Scotland:
representations relating to the promotion phone 0131 244 0190
of consumer interests; • independent person appointed by
• may take statutory recommendations to Scottish Ministers to monitor quality of
Scottish Ministers, Scottish Executive, drinking water supplied by us;
Scottish Water, Water Industry Commission, • ensures water quality standards are met;
SEPA and DWQR; • audits Scottish Water's assets such as, water
• is a statutory consultee for matters relating treatment works and sampling and analysis
to the water industry within Scotland; and procedures; and
• is independent of Scottish Water and • sets water quality improvement targets.
The Scottish Environment
Scottish Ministers: Protection Agency (SEPA):
phone 0845 278 1999 see numbers listed in the local
• are our owners and report to the Scottish phone directory or visit www.sepa.org.uk
Parliament on our activities; • sets standards for and monitors
• define the objectives we must meet; waste water and other discharges
• provide us with borrowing within defined into streams, rivers, estuaries and the sea;
limits; and • regulates new water schemes;
• consider some types of appeal related • keeps records of river flows; and
to water and waste water services. • warns of possible floods from rivers.
OUR CODE OF PRACTICE 31
Who does what
Health Boards: Property Owners:
see local numbers in your • maintain the water supply pipework on
telephone directory their property in accordance with our
• administer community health services; Water Byelaws;
• can ask to have fluoride added to the water; • maintain the waste water network on their
and property and, if the property is not
• investigate outbreaks of disease and inform connected to the public sewer, their
us if water quality is at fault. septic tank; and
• maintain watercourses such as streams and
Local Councils: burns or culverts in and adjacent to the
see local numbers in your telephone directory boundary of their property.
• are responsible for environmental health,
including private water supplies;
• oversee the safety of all large reservoirs
in their area;
• have planning and building control
responsibilities over alterations and
development of property;
• maintain road gullies and road drainage
systems (but not public sewers);
• are responsible for flood prevention in
towns and villages, coastal protection and
dealing with coastal oil pollution incidents;
• collect household water and waste water
charges for us through Council Tax bills.
32 OUR CODE OF PRACTICE
Our Guaranteed Standards Scheme (GSS) covers our most important services to our customers. If we fail to meet these
standards, you may be entitled to a payment.
Guaranteed Standards Automatic Claim Payment Level
Keeping appointments made more than
24hrs in advance. Yes No £20
Planned interruptions, warn customers 48hrs
in advance, supply restored within stated time
- payment on failure to warn and/or supply £20 + £20 for each subsequent
not restored at stated time. No Yes 12hrs without supply
Unplanned interruptions (burst mains etc),
restore within 12hrs (48hrs for a large main £20 + £10 for each subsequent
supplying a large area). No Yes 12hrs without supply
Water into gas mains, give you a call within
2hrs of you reporting fault to give details of
what happens next. Yes No £20
Sewer flooding inside your property. notification No Annual waste water charge
of flooding) (max £1,000 per event)
Invoicing enquiries – general,
respond within 10 working days. Yes No £20
Invoicing enquiries – change of payment
method, respond within 5 working days. Yes No £20
Written response to a complaint, respond
within 10 working days. Yes No £20
Meter applications, we’ll let you know of
outcome within 10 working days of survey. Yes No £20
Pressure – supply a minimum 1 bar. Payment
subsequent to Scottish Water investigations
confirming low pressure. Yes No £20
Inform you of outcome of our investigations
within 5 working days. No Yes £20
Major incidents, updates every 48 hours 5-15% of water or waste water charge,
minimum. No Yes maximum £5,000
If you’d like more information on topics not Customer Helpline
covered in this Code of Practice, or would 0845 601 8855
like further details about any of our services, for general customer enquiries,
complaints and requests.
please call our Customer Helpline on
0845 601 8855 and we’ll do our best to Emergency Helpline
meet your needs. As part of our continuing 0845 600 8855
efforts to improve services to our customers for emergency help.
your call may be monitored and we may also Text phone
call you back later to ask what you thought 0845 603 8855
of the service we provided. for people with a speech or hearing impairment.
0845 606 8855
for translations of key documents, arranging audio/
Braille versions and registering for Special Services.
For complaints email:
For enquiries email:
Visit our website at:
Head Office Administration Centres
Scottish Water Balmore Road Fairmilehead Office Inverness Office
PO Box 8855 419 Balmore Road 55 Buckstone Terrace 31 Henderson Drive
Edinburgh Glasgow Edinburgh Longman North
EH10 6YQ G22 6NU EH10 6XH Inverness
Bullion House Kingshill House
Invergowrie Arnhall Business Park
DD2 5BB AB32 6UF