INNER PAGES (PDF Version) by sor88113


									Your Guide to
Our Code of Practice
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

  Scottish Water

  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.

  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
  to protect the quality of water supplies and     or by visiting our website on
  prevent water wastage.                 

  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

Our services

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).

 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 or email                Helpline on 0845 601 8855 and asking                               to speak to a member of the Water Byelaws
                                                      team or by emailing
  If you want a copy of the water quality data
  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.

  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 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.

  Our Guaranteed

  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

 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
                                                    you £20.
  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
                                                       security systems.
                                                                           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

  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
Guaranteed Standards.

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

  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

  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

  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
                                   Typetalk service;
                                 • registering through our web site at
                                 • by writing to us at
                                   Special Services, Scottish Water,
                                   PO Box 8855, Edinburgh, EH10 6YQ.

                                 Other languages
                                 Services for customers who want access
                                 to our information in a language other
                                 than English.

                                 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.

  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
  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
        the door?
     • Does the card contain the Scottish Water
        contact telephone number?
     • Has the card been tampered with in
        any way?
  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,                  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.

  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
  this test.
                                       OUR CODE OF PRACTICE   25

If you have
a complaint

              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

  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

Who we
answer to

            We answer to you,
            our customers.
            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.

  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
  legal requirements.

  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.

  Environmental quality
  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

Water quality
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.

  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.
    industry regulators.
                                                    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
    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.

  Our Guaranteed
  Standards summarised
   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
                                                     Payment         Required

   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

                                                     Yes (on
   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
How to
contact us

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.
                                                  Access Line
                                                  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
                                                                                 IV1 1TR
                         Bullion House            Kingshill House
                         Invergowrie              Arnhall Business Park
                         Dundee                   Westhill
                         Angus                    Aberdeen
                         DD2 5BB                  AB32 6UF

                                                                                                SWCOP2 11/06

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