Frequently asked questions

Got a question? Check out our help centre below. If you can't find the answer you're looking for get in touch.

Managing my account

  1. How do I update my account details?

    Use our online form to update your billing details. If you’re moving properties, use this online form to update your account details – and remember to let us know 14 days before you move.

  2. I’m moving premises – how do I change my property’s address details?

    Visit the contact us page and under ‘my premises’ you’ll find all the information you need. Remember, to let us know on the day your move out or within a maximum of 14 days along with your final meter read and we’ll process your request.

  3. How do I close my account?

    If you’re looking to close your account you can visit the contact us page and you’ll find out what to do under the ‘my contract’ section.

About Business Stream

  1. Who are Business Stream and what do you do?

    We’re the leading supplier of water and waste water services to businesses in Scotland. Read more about us as an organisation and what we do.

  2. What’s the difference between Business Stream and Scottish Water?

    Scottish Water is responsible for maintaining the public water and waste water network. At Business Stream we’re a licensed water and waste water provider for business. As well as offering first-class customer service, we set out to make water work harder for every customer. We’re pretty good at delivering other water services that can save you water and save money as well. Read more about what we do.

Billing

  1. Why have I been sent a water bill?

    If your property is connected to the public water supply, you pay charges towards its maintenance. The same applies to waste water.

  2. What do the charges on my water bill cover?

    The bill is divided into different types of water charge:

    • a fixed charge to keep you connected to the water supply and or the sewers
    • ‘volumetric’ charges, based on how much water you use and returned to the sewers
    • property and roads drainage charges, based on your property’s rateable value.

    For more details, see our page on understanding your charges.

  3. Why does my bill have charges up to 31 March 2012 and different charges from 1 April 2012?

    Our charges are revised on 1 April every year. This means that for each part of your bill, two different charges apply. Services up to the 31 March are based on our 2011/12 charges and services from 1 April 2012 are based on our 2012/13 charges.

  4. How do I pay my water bill?

    We’ve made it as easy as possible. You can pay by any of these methods:

    • online via our secure online payment form
    • by direct debit (and save money with our discount)
    • by BACS or internet banking (our bank details are:

      Sort code 30-00-02
      account number 03029919
      account name Business Stream Revenue Account

  5. How do I save money on my water bill?

    We’ve already saved our customers over £10 million in consumption savings so we know what we’re doing with it comes to cutting bills. For example by using direct debit and eBilling you can save money with our discounts. Other methods can be tailored to your business – get in touch with us and we’ll work out what’s best for you.

  6. How do I cut my water consumption?

    In most cases, cutting water consumption will cut your water bills, simple. Follow our water saving tips for small and larger businesses to help cut your water consumption. Claiming your free water efficiency pack can be your first step.

  7. I’m having difficulty paying my water bill – what should I do?

    Get in touch with us as soon as possible. We’ll work with you to find the best solution. To make a quick saving – sign up to eBilling and direct debit to save money with our discounts.

  8. How do I set up direct debit with Business Stream?

    Easy. Just complete the direct debit mandate and save money with our discount. If you sign up to eBilling too, you’ll get a bigger saving.

  9. What discounts is my business eligible for?

    We offer a range of discounts. The more you commit to us, the bigger the saving.

    Take a look at all our discounts and offers and use our simple discounts tool to find out how much you stand to save.

  10. Which organisations are eligible for exemptions from water and waste water bills?

    Charities and voluntary organisations can apply for exemptions if they:

    • have already been receiving exemption at 31 March 1999
    • have a net annual income of less than £64,500 (2012/13).

    To be eligible, they must not:

    • be a retail outlet or council building
    • have had a permanent liquor licence before 1 September 2009. Read the full detail on the Scottish Government’s exemption scheme.
  11. How do I get a statement of my water charges?

    Visit our contact us page and you can request a statement under the ‘my invoice’ section.

  12. How do I get a duplicate water bill?

    The easiest way is to sign up for our eBilling service. Your bills are then archived electronically – you can access and print them whenever you need to. Plus you'll save money with our eBilling discount.

  13. What is eBilling?

    Our electronic billing service lets you view your bills online. It saves paper – and you'll save money with our discount. Find out what my business stream can do for you.

  14. How do I log in to eBilling?

    Simple – use our login page to view your electronic bills. Make sure you are already signed up to eBilling first.

  15. I’ve lost my eBilling username and password

    Visit Manage your account to reset your password.

What is the cost for recovery charge?

  1. Why am I being charged a cost of recovery charge?

    A cost of recovery charge is applied to an account where there is an outstanding balance which has not been paid within the agreed terms. Our standard terms and conditions of supply state a bill should be paid immediately. The terms and conditions also go on to state that we are permitted to pass on to a customer our reasonable costs if the customer fails to keep to their responsibilities under the terms and conditions. If you have a water and waste water supply contract with different terms these payment terms apply.

  2. What does the charge pay for?

    If customers don’t pay their bills, it affects our cash-flow and we start to incur additional costs, such as the cost of sending out reminder letters, running a team to collect debt and the cost of using debt collection agencies. It would be unfair to spread this cost over all accounts when some customers settle their bills promptly. So an account with an overdue balance will have a cost of recovery charge applied. Initially this is £75 + VAT but there is a second charge of £100 + VAT applied if the bill remains unpaid for longer and the account is passed to one of our debt recovery partners for action. Unless otherwise stated in your water and waste water supply contract, our bills are due to be paid on receipt of invoice as detailed in our terms and conditions.

  3. Why are you introducing a second charge and what does it pay for?

    We’ve carried out analysis of the costs to run our business and non-payment of bills contributes a significant amount to these, in particular invoices that are not paid and have to be passed to a debt recovery partner. We’ve introduced this second charge to cover the high costs we incur in this area as we feel it’s unfair to add this cost to our general charges applied to all customers.

  4. Who will incur the second cost of recovery charge?

    The £100 +VAT cost of recovery charge applies to all accounts that are passed to our debt recovery partners.

  5. How would I know these charges were going to be applied to my account?

    We provide warning that there is an outstanding balance on your account and when charges will be applied. This is done through to reminder letters and a final notice. Before a cost of recovery charge is applied we send out 2 reminder letters to the billing address. If at this stage the debt remains unpaid the first cost of recovery charge of £75+VAT is applied. A final notice is then issued, this warns of the £100+VAT cost of recovery charge, which will be incurred if the debt remains unpaid and we pass the account to a debt collection partner.

  6. How can I avoid these charges in the future?

    If you pay your bills immediately upon receipt of the invoice no cost of recovery charges will be applied. Alternatively, direct debit is a really convenient way to not have to worry about remembering to make payment. You can sign up to direct debit here.

  7. What if I think the original bill is wrong?

    If you believe your bill is wrong then please contact us immediately and explain why. Any undisputed parts of the bill will need paying while we investigate your issue. If they’re not a cost of recovery charge will be applied. Once we’ve investigated we’ll let you know what we’ve discovered and the bill will either be amended or will stand. The bill will then continue to be treated as any other bill and the normal debt recovery process followed. If the outstanding balance is not paid a cost of recovery charge will be applied.

  8. What if I never received the original bill?

    If you didn’t receive the original bill you can request a copy for which there is a £5 charge. To avoid this issue in the future you should sign up to our eBilling service through my business stream (www.business-stream.co.uk/my-business-stream). Alternatively if you’re already signed-up to eBilling there may be an issue with your online account.

Water meters

  1. Where is my water meter located?

    The location of your water meter is usually shown on your bill – on the second page, bottom left. Most meters are outside the building, but within the boundary of the property.

  2. How do I read my meter?

    You’ll find a small square lid. Lift it up and make a note of the black numbers on a white background. (Ignore the white numbers on red.) Then visit the submit a meter reading page. If you’re still unsure, read our handy guide.

  3. My water meter is damaged – what should I do?

    Please visit the contact us section on our site and view the ‘my meter’ section.

  4. My meter’s stopped turning – what do I do?

    Get in touch with us – we’ll get you a replacement, or have a look to see what the problem is.

  5. How do I submit my water meter reading?

    Easy. Use our secure meter reading form to ensure more accurate bills. You’ll also need the serial number of the water meter – this allows us to match you on our records.

  6. My business has a smart meter. How do I access the data online?

    You’ll need to log in to the correct portal. We should have given you these details. If you’re unsure, please contact your relationship manager. You can either phone 0845 602 8855 and ask to speak to them directly, or drop them a line at solutions@business-stream.co.uk with your account details.

  7. How are water charges calculated?

    The volumetric charge for water is based upon usage recorded through your water meter. For customers with a meter size of up to and including 20mm, there are four charge steps:

    0 to 25m3
    26 to 100,000m3
    100,001 to 250,000m3
    250,001m3 and above

    For customers with a meter over 20mm there are three charge steps:

    0 to 100,000m3
    100,001 to 250,000m3
    250,001m3 and above

    For more details, see our page on understanding your charges.

  8. I don’t have a water meter – how am I charged?

    Your charges are based on the rateable value of your property.

  9. I don’t have a water meter – how can I get one fitted?

    You can ask us to arrange a survey to see if it’s possible to get a meter fitted. Or you can read our handy guide on reassessment of your charges.

  10. Do I have to pay for water used in putting out a fire?

    Water used in firefighting isn’t charged for. Get in touch to discuss the details and we’ll advise further.

Waste water

  1. Why am I charged for waste water?

    Any business whose waste water drains into the public sewer makes a contribution towards the cost of treating this water and returning it to the supply system.

  2. Why is waste water more expensive than water?

    Once water has been used, it’s drained into the sewer system then taken for treatment. The higher cost is for the cleaning of the waste water making it fit for its return to the environment.

  3. Why am I charged for drainage and sewerage?

    Your charges cover rainwater and waste water drainage from your property. You also pay a contribution towards drainage from public roads.

  4. How are property drainage charges calculated?

    For most customers, property drainage charges are based on your property’s rateable value (RV) and the number of days that you are being billed for. This bill may include two different property drainage rates as our charges changed on 1 April 2012.

    Property drainage charges for 2011/12 = (£0.02555 x £RV) / 365, x (number of days)

    Property drainage charges for 2012/13 = (£0.02671 x £RV) /365, x (number of days)

  5. How are roads drainage charges calculated?

    Roads drainage charges are based on your property’s rateable value (RV) and the number of days that you are being billed for. This bill may include two different roads drainage rates as our charges changed on 1 April 2012.

    Roads drainage charges for 2011/12 = (£0.01641 x £RV) /365, x number of days

    Roads drainage charges for 2012/13 = (£0.01715 x £RV) /365, x number of days

  6. What is a trade effluent consent?

    A trade effluent consent is a legal document issued by Scottish Water. It sets out the amount and quality of effluent that a business is allowed to discharge.

  7. Why does my business need a trade effluent consent?

    Trade effluent covers waste water from processes such as industrial production or washing and cooling plant, machinery, vehicles or floors.

  8. My business is over my trade effluent consent limits, what can I do?

    Get in touch with us. We’ve got services and techniques that can help.

Trade effluent billing improvements

  1. When will I see the first change?

    You will see these changes appear on your next trade effluent bill.

  2. My trade effluent bill is sent to a different address to my water and waste water bill, will this change?

    Yes, you will now receive all of your bills to the address on your current water and waste water account.

  3. What happens if my DPID is supplied by multiple supply meters?

    All of your supply meters will be consolidated onto one account so you will have one reference number for one site.

  4. How will this affect my tankered private effluent?

    Any tankered private effluent will remain on a separate account.

  5. I pay for my trade effluent by direct debit, will this change?

    Your new account, featuring trade effluent, will adopt the payment terms of your current water and waste water account. If you continue to pay by direct debit we will review your budget and ensure this is taken into account.

    If you would like to change your payment method, get in touch with our dedicated team on 0131 338 3161 / 3278.

  6. I pay in advance, will this be impacted?

    No, your PIA amount will be the same, just calculated from a different place. We will review and ensure your budgets are correct and you will still see a breakdown of cost per service per site on your account.

  7. I have an outstanding balance on my trade effluent account; will this be moved onto my new consolidated account?

    No, any outstanding payments to be paid will be settled on the old account and the balance for trade effluent services on your new account will begin a £0.

Complaints

  1. I have a complaint about Business Stream customer service. Who should I contact?

    If you’re unhappy with anything we’ve done – or haven’t done – please let us know. You can contact us on 0845 602 8855. Or write to us at:

    Customer Relations
    Business Stream
    7 Lochside View
    Edinburgh
    EH12 9DH

    We’ll work hard to respond within eight working days. If we don’t, we’ll compensate you to say sorry.

  2. I’m not happy with the way you’ve handled my complaint – what do I do?

    The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about most organisations that provide public services in Scotland and some non-domestic licensed providers, including Business Stream. Their service is independent, free and confidential.

    The SPSO will normally only consider a complaint after you have completed our complaints procedure.

    The SPSO cannot normally look at complaints:

    • more than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about
    • that have been or are being considered in court.

    If you remain dissatisfied once you have completed our complaints procedure, contact the SPSO for advice and request a complaint form on freephone 0800 377 7330, via their website at www.spso.org.uk or by writing to:

    SPSO
    Freepost EH641
    Edinburgh
    EH3 0BR

  3. I have a complaint against Scottish Water. Who should I contact?

    Visit our complaints page to find out what’s best to do.

  4. How can I claim compensation for my business for disruption in water supply and waste water services?

    Visit our complaints page and get in touch, we’ll check the details and handle your claim.

Emergencies

  1. My business is flooded – what do I do?

    If you have flooding indoors, within our operating hours, Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, call us on 0845 602 8855. Out with these hours contact Scottish Water on 0845 600 8855. Then follow these steps:

    • turn off your water at the stop valve immediately
    • switch off your immersion heater and central heating boiler
    • turn on all hot and cold taps, to drain the system and minimise damage
    • let any solid fuel fires die down
    • switch off your electricity supply at the main if there’s a risk that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings.

    A temporary repair can be made to a burst pipe by binding it tightly with a cloth or tape, or using a pipe clamp. However, any burst pipe should be replaced as soon as possible by a qualified plumber. Contact us to let us know – we might be able to take it into consideration when calculating your bill.

  2. I have a blocked sewer – what do I do?

    Contact Scottish Water on 0845 600 8855. They’ll send out a team to investigate.

  3. How do I protect my business against floods and burst pipes?

    Follow our helpful tips.

  4. I’ve turned the taps on but there’s no water coming out – who should I contact?

    Call Scottish Water on 0845 600 8855. They’ll be able to tell you if any work is being done in the area that might affect your water supply.

  5. My pipes are frozen, what do I do?

    Follow our step by step guide to dealing with frozen pipes.

  6. My business gets water of varying quality. Who should I contact?

    If you find the quality of your supply isn’t meeting your needs, we can help you improve it. Get in touch to find out more.

  7. I’m worried about chlorine levels in my water supply

    You can contact Scottish Water and ask to check their water samples. We can also help out if you need a particular level of water quality – get in touch to find out more.

  8. The water coming through my taps is dirty – who should I contact?

    If you’ve run your taps for some time and discoloured water is still flowing, contact Scottish Water on 0845 600 8855.

  9. How can I ensure that I never lose a water supply for my business?

    Our experts can come up with alternative methods to make sure that your business’s processes are not affected by lack of water. Get in touch with us to arrange a meeting.