Information for Customers in Scotland Relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19)

On this page, you’ll find some help and advice on how best to manage your water bills if your site is in Scotland.

Is Your Business Temporarily Closed?

Is Your Business Temporarily Closed?

We've been working pro-actively with the Scottish Government, the regulator and Scottish Water to identify and implement a range of measures that will help businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Deferral Scheme

Deferral Scheme

If we've contacted you and you would like to apply for the Deferral Scheme, please fill out this webform.

If you would like to opt out of  the Deferral Scheme, please fill out this webform.

Further details about the scheme can be found in our FAQs further down this page. 

Prepayment Refund Scheme

Prepayment Refund Scheme

If we've contacted you and you would like to opt out of the Prepayment Refund Scheme, please fill out this webform.

Further details about the scheme can be found in our FAQs further down this page. 

Submit a Meter Read

Submit a Meter Read

We know that many businesses will be using significantly less water now than they were previously. Help to keep your bills accurate and ensure you only pay for the water you use by submitting a meter read.

How to get in touch

If you want to speak to one of our friendly advisers then please contact us on 0330 123 2000.

Whilst we are providing additional support to those who need it most, our response times in answering calls may take a little longer than usual. Please do bear with us during this time.

Don’t forget you can also get in touch using one of our online channels, including web chat and virtual assistant. Customers with a MyBusinessStream account can continue to use this to access all the usual services including checking your bill, entering meter reads and making a payment.

Government support measures for businesses

To help support businesses impacted by COVID-19, the UK and Scottish Governments have introduced a range of business-wide measures, including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

For further details on these support measures please visit the following website.

For further details on the specific measures introduced by the Scottish Government, please visit the following website.

FAQs

My business has been affected by coronavirus and I’m struggling to pay my water bill. Is there anything you can do to help?

We understand this is a difficult time for many businesses and we want to help. In addition to providing a range of flexible payment plans, we have also put in place additional measures to support those most in need (please see below for further details regarding our Deferral Scheme). If you are having difficulty making payments then please contact our dedicated team on 0330 123 2000 who will be happy to help.

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) has recently confirmed a new industry-wide support package - the Wholesale Charge Deferral Scheme (WCDS) - for businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. We are offering an enhanced version of this scheme to provide further support to our customers.

Under our scheme, we can defer water and waste water charges until the 30th September for those businesses who have been impacted. Please note, for those customers with a larger meter (25mm or above) then the deferral will apply to consumption charges but fixed charges will remain due and payable. The deferral will apply to all charges you haven’t yet paid for, including those which pre-date the initiation of lockdown measures. Once the deferral period is over, we will contact you to arrange a payment plan.  We recognise that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for many months to come, which is why you can repay the deferred charges over a 12-month period, allowing additional time for your business to recover.  To enable you to keep track of your deferred payments, we will continue to issue invoices to you as normal during this period. If you would like to make contributions towards your charges at any point then you can do so, whilst remaining on the scheme, but there is no expectation that payments will be made.

For those customers on direct debit, please note that there is no need to cancel your direct debit as we won’t take any payments until the deferral period is over. Once the deferral period is over then your direct debit payments will resume for new charges and we will contact you to arrange a payment plan for your deferred charges.

For those customers who have already paid their charges in advance, then under the Prepayment Refund Scheme introduced by WICS you can opt to have any pre-paid charges refunded. Please note that the repayment won’t apply to services already used. Please see separate FAQ for further details.

We are currently in the process of writing to our customers who we believe would benefit from one of these schemes. If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and would be interested in either the Deferral Scheme or the Prepayment Refund Scheme (only applicable to those who have paid for their charges in advance), then please complete the following webform and we will be in touch with you shortly with further details.

I have temporarily closed my business property to reduce the impact of COVID-19. What support can you offer while my business property remains closed?

From the outset we have been working with the Scottish Government, Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) and Scottish Water to identify the best ways to support our customers. WICS has recently confirmed a new industry-wide support package - the Wholesale Charge Deferral Scheme (WCDS) - for businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. We are offering an enhanced version of this scheme to provide additional support to our customers.

For those businesses that have temporarily closed and/or have been impacted by COVID-19, we can defer your water and waste water charges until the 30th September 2020. Please note, if your meter is 25mm or above in size, then the deferral will only apply to your consumption charges, the fixed charges will remain due and payable. The deferral will apply to all charges you haven’t yet paid for, including those which pre-date the initiation of lockdown measures. Once the deferral period is over, we will contact you to arrange a payment plan.  We recognise that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for many months to come, which is why you can repay the deferred charges over a 12-month period, allowing additional time for your business to recover.  To enable you to keep track of your deferred payments, we will continue to issue invoices to you as normal during this period. If you would like to make contributions towards your charges at any point then you can do so, whilst remaining on the scheme, but there is no expectation that payments will be made.

For those customers on direct debit, please note that there is no need to cancel your direct debit as we won’t take any payments until the deferral period is over. Once the deferral period is over then your direct debit payments will resume for new charges and we will contact you to arrange a payment plan for your deferred charges.

For those customers who have already paid their charges in advance, then under the Prepayment Refund Scheme introduced by WICS you can opt to have any pre-paid charges refunded. Please note that the repayment won’t apply to services already used. Please see separate FAQ for further details.

If you receive a letter stating that we have deferred your charges but you would prefer to continue making payments as normal then you can choose to opt out of the scheme by completing this webform.

If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and would be interested in either the Deferral Scheme or the Prepayment Refund Scheme (only applicable to those who have paid for their charges in advance), then please complete the following webform and we will be in touch with you shortly with further details.

I’ve been impacted by COVID-19 but have already prepaid all my water and waste water charges for the year. Is there anything you can do to help?

A new industry-wide scheme - the Prepayment Refund Scheme has recently been announced by the water regulator for Scotland which is designed to support businesses in Scotland who have been impacted by COVID-19 and who have already prepaid their water and waste water charges for the year. Under the Scheme, we can send you a cheque for your prepaid services that have not yet been used. We can also auto-enrol you onto our payment deferral scheme which means that your water and waste water charges will be temporarily deferred until the 30th September. This deferral scheme is an enhanced version of the industry-wide Wholesale Charge Deferral Scheme (WCDS) which was announced recently and is designed to support businesses in Scotland who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

Once the deferral period is over, we will contact you to arrange a payment plan for the deferred charges. Recognising that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for many months to come, you can repay the deferred charges (covering the period between the 1st July and 30th September) over a 12-month period, allowing additional time for your business to recover. Please note, if you would like to make contributions towards your payments at any point during the deferred period then you can do so, whilst remaining on the scheme, but there is no expectation that payments will be made. Any new charges for services used after the 30th September will need to be paid as normal, however, you can choose to pay in full or you can spread the cost over a number of months by utilising one of our payment plan options.

We are currently in the process of writing to our customers who we believe would benefit from this scheme. If you have been impacted by COVID-19 and have prepaid your charges in advance then please complete this webform if you would like to participate in either of the two schemes and we will be in touch with you shortly with further details.

If you have already received a letter from us to let you know about the Prepayment refund Scheme but you would prefer not to have your prepayment returned, then you can opt-out of the scheme by completing this webform.

Although our business is still operating, our water consumption has significantly reduced. What can you do to help us lower our bills?

We understand this will be the case for many businesses. If you are a metered customer then in order to ensure that your bills reflect your actual consumption, please fill in our online form, and where it is safe to do so, submit two meter reads two weeks apart. We will then be able to amend your bill accordingly. If you are unmeasured (don’t use a meter) your charges are based on the rateable value of your property, which means your charges will remain the same.

If my business ceases trading will I still receive a water bill?

As members of the UK Water Retail Council, we are working with the Regulators, the UK Government, Wholesalers and other agencies to implement a range of measures to support businesses during this time. We will continue to keep you updated on developments.

In Scotland, if a business ceases trading and moves out of the property, charges will continue up to the point that the business no longer has a legal right to occupy the property (e.g. a lease has ended naturally or has been terminated by a landlord). At that point we will issue a final bill which will include charges up to the move out date. After this bill, either the landlord or the property owner will be liable. If you are moving out of your property then please do let us know the move out date and final meter read so that we can ensure your final bill reflects your actual consumption.

If you are having any issues making payments then we’d be more than happy to help you find a flexible payment plan that will work for you. Please contact one of our friendly advisers on 0330 123 2000 who will be happy to help. Please note, if you’re a Yorkshire Water customer, please call us on 0345 1 24 24 20.

What should I do if I can’t afford to pay my Direct Debit?

We recognise that this is a challenging time for many businesses. If you are having difficulties making payments then please don’t cancel your Direct Debit and instead contact us on 0330 123 2002 so that we can help. We have put in place a range of additional measures to support our customers including flexible payment plans and payment deferral arrangements that you may be eligible for and we would be happy to discuss these with you.

What happens to my water supply if Business Stream is impacted and cannot continue to operate during this period?

Our Business Continuity Plans ensure that our organisation is prepared for a wide variety of incidents and events, including situations where employees are either unable to gain access to our offices, or where a significant number of employees are unable to work. Following Government guidelines, we have implemented our Business Continuity Plans and have a dedicated team in place who will be working safely to ensure we can continue to support our customers during this time.

Will I be able to contact you if your office needs to close?

In line with the Government guidelines and our commitment to do everything we can to keep our employees safe and well, our offices are temporarily closed. We are however continuing to work hard to maintain services for our customers. If you need to speak to one of our advisers then please be assured that we will continue to have a team on hand to deal with customer queries. You can get in touch using one of our online channels, including web chat and virtual assistant. Customers with a MyBusinessStream account can continue to access all the usual services including checking your bill, entering meter reads and making a payment. Yorkshire Water Business Customers can keep up to date via the dedicated micro-site here, and you can get in touch using these contact details. We will continue to keep these FAQs up to date. Please be assured we are doing everything we can to ensure we are answering customer calls as quickly as possible and providing additional support to those in need.

Where can I find out more and be kept up to date with any developments?

We'll continue to keep these FAQs up to date, please visit this page in the first instance if you have any queries.

I am expecting someone to come out to read my meter. Will this still happen? If so, then what assurances can you give me that they are taking the right health and safety precautions before attending my site?

The health and safety of our employees and customers is of upmost importance. We are working with our external partners, including meter readers, to ensure they are following Government guidelines and taking extra precautions at this time. If you have any concerns then please do let us know. We will continue to keep this under review and provide any updates on our website.

Will there be any disruption to our water supply during this period?

We are working closely with all our wholesalers to ensure that their resilience plans are strong and that every step is taken to minimise risks that may affect the delivery of water and waste water services. Currently we are not anticipating any disruption to supply. Water UK, the trade body for the water industry have also stated that it is “confident the water industry will continue to provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water for everyone”. We will continue to liaise with all our wholesalers and should the situation change then the relevant customers will be informed.

How can I ensure my water quality hasn’t been impacted while my business has remained closed?

Given your business has been closed for a period of weeks, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your water quality hasn’t been impacted and your pipes are working properly:

  • Stagnated water can lead to water quality issues. Make sure you run all your taps individually to ensure that the water in your plumbing system is fresh. Run the water until it is clear and feels cool.
  • Ensure that all appliances are thoroughly flushed through before use. Details on how to do this will be provided in the appliance’s instruction manual.
  • If your property has any water softeners or internal filters then please check that these are working correctly, as instructed in the manual guides.
  • Check for any leaks. Whilst not always visible, if your tap continues to drip when you turn it off or your toilet is continually running then this may mean you have a leak. If you suspect a leak then contact us on 0330 123 2000.

For further details, please read this guide produced by the UK water industry body, Water UK.