More than 1200 Scottish businesses suffered burst pipes during last year’s big freeze, according to Business Stream, Scotland’s largest non-domestic water supplier.
The problems caused by last year’s extreme weather conditions has prompted Business Stream, which supplies water and waste water services to 140,000 sites across Scotland, to launch a winter alert service to help businesses cope with severe weather.
The winter alerts service will update customers with weather information and also highlight steps which can be taken to help significantly reduce the risk of damage to property
Business Stream also urged businesses to take pre-emptive measures to protect themselves against freezing temperatures, including:
Business Stream had a 20% increase in calls to its customer services team during winter 2010 with more than 1200 businesses suffering burst pipes.
The big freeze was estimated to have cost the Scottish economy up to £15 million a day last year, in what proved to be the most severe winter for 100 years.
Stuart Henderson, commercial manager at Business Stream, said: “No-one can predict the future, but the winter alert system could provide enough advance warning of cold weather closing in to allow businesses and other organisations to prepare.
“I’d stress, however, that putting precautions in place before the winter arrives properly is the most effective way of protecting premises from burst pipes, flooding, and a lot of expensive repair works.
“Last year caused misery for businesses all over the country Many of them hadn’t taken the proper precautions in advance, which resulted in lost revenue and weeks of hassle for a lot of different organisations.”
Business Stream’s top ten tips for winter
1. Leave heating on at a low temperature, and ensure heaters are well maintained and working properly.
2. Check loft insulation is in good condition, lag exposed pipes and insulate water meters.
3. Sign up to the winter alerts service at http://www.business-stream.co.uk/emergencies/winter-alerts
4. Drain your water system before closing for winter or in advance of pre-notified freezing temperatures, and shut off supply at the stop cock to reduce the risk of internal leaks
5. If a pipe freezes or bursts, turn the water supply off at the stop valve immediately, and switch off immersion and central heating.
6. Gently heat any frozen sections – a heated cloth wrapped round a pipe is ideal, but never switch on immersion heater or central heating, and don’t apply a direct flame.
7. Turn on all hot and cold taps to drain the system and minimise damage. Let any solid fuel fires die down.
8. Switch off electricity supply at the main if there’s a risk that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings.
9. Find a reputable plumber at http://www.business-stream.co.uk/water-supply-services/problems-water-su...
10. Let your water supplier know what’s happened. It might be taken into account when your bill is calculated.
To find out more about Business Stream’s new alert service please visit: http://www.business-stream.co.uk/emergencies/winter-alerts
Businesses can also find advice on preventing burst pipes at http://www.business-stream.co.uk/emergencies
Issued on behalf of Business Stream by The BIG Partnership
For more information, contact: Bryan Garvie or Charles Cameron on 0141 333 9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Scottish Water, Business Stream has been formed as an arms-length company with its own board and independent management team. Its goal is to provide a first class service for business customers and respond to the challenge of other established utility companies entering the new, competitive market which opened on 1 April 2008.
Under the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005, Scottish Water had to split its operation into wholesale (Scottish Water) and retail (Business Stream) units. Although ostensibly remaining a part of Scottish Water, Business Stream is a new business working completely independently of its parent company in order to ensure fair and transparent retail practice under the rules of the new competitive marketplace for business customers.