Water company says be prepared for winter

Scottish Water is implementing a range of measures to prepare its service for 2.4 million household customers, ahead of any extreme weather conditions.

The business has prepared itself with the resources, trained staff volunteers, contingencies and processes to ensure it is well equipped to tackle any repeat of the extreme weather conditions which have affected Scotland over the last few winters.

Earlier this month, Scottish Water launched its Winter Campaign to encourage communities throughout Scotland to follow its winter code – a set of simple steps to protect your pipes, be prepared and heat, insulate and protect homes and businesses.

Peter Farrer, Customer Service Delivery Director of Scottish Water, said: “We have been working since the end of last winter to look at what we need to do, as a business, learning from the experience of the last few years in particular, to prepare for whatever this winter brings.

“Earlier in October, we launched our winter campaign, asking our customers to play their part in protecting their homes by taking some simple steps.

“It is important that we are all ready for winter.”

As the Scottish Government Resilience Week asks individuals, businesses and organisations to make sure they are ready for winter, Scottish Water is outlining some of the measures it has adopted to prepare for winter:

Mr Farrer continued: “These include reviewing our water mains network in a number of areas that experienced severe, prolonged frosts last winter and carrying out work to improve the resilience of these networks.

“We are also equipping our repair response teams to travel and work in extreme road conditions. Around 560 vehicles used by front line staff now have winter tyres and a number are being equipped with snow socks.

“Another 90 vehicles used to carry samples for water quality tests will be fitted with winter tyres.

“We are introducing new technology in our customer contact centre, available 24 hours a day, to help them cope with any major rise in contacts from customers and appeals for help and information.

“We are also providing customers with access to winter information and advice on our website www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter and our social media channels - twitter.com/scottishwaterpr and www.facebook.com/scottishwater.

“We are giving training and recruiting about 1000 Scottish Water staff from other parts of the business to provide assistance to our normal frontline staff - particularly in customer service support - during any extreme weather.

“Snow grippers for shoes and boots have been made available to all employees.

“Scottish Water is always looking at how we can continue to improve our services to customers in the event of any extreme weather which may affect Scotland.

“We’ve looked at securing resources, materials and manpower, in fact doing all we can to ensure that as a business, we are prepared well in advance to ensure we deliver the best service we can to customers in whatever conditions.

“It is our priority to ensure that 2.4 million households are kept in water supply, and should they experience problems that we respond as quickly as possible.”

Scottish Water’s Winter Campaign will encourage people to protect their pipes and property and advise them what to do to help prevent a burst or frozen pipe, how to locate their stop valve, what to do in an emergency and how Scottish Water can help.

The Protect your pipes - Be prepared message urges Scottish Water customers across Scotland to take measures to ensure peace of mind from extreme weather conditions.

Customers are being urged to follow Scottish Water’s Winter Code:

Heat, insulate and protect your pipes.

Leave your heating on at a low setting.

If you are going away then make sure you have someone who can regularly check for any problems.

If your property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system. A licensed plumber should be able to advise you about this.

Keep your insurance documents somewhere secure and water-tight so you can access them easily if needed.

Locate your stop valve.

Keep a note of the telephone number of a licensed plumber.

Keep a note of the Scottish Water Customer Helpline number – 0845 601 8855.

Be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for your neighbours, especially the frail and elderly or disabled.

While homeowners represent the biggest target audience, the campaign is also focussing on the need for businesses, landlords and owners of holiday homes to also get their properties prepared now for winter.

r Advice on how to heat, insulate and protect your property is available on Scottish Water’s website www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter or customers can call our Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855.