Utilities in <u>Kirkwall

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Your Complete Guide to Utilities in Kirkwall

If you've moved and have questions about Kirkwall? Our complete guide to utilities in Kirkwall will explain in detail everything you need to know about broadband, area codes, power generation and energy distributors, and Kirkwall water and sewerage. Keep reading to learn everything about utilities in Kirkwall.

About Kirkwall, Orkney

Kirkwall KW15 has a population of 7,045 and is located in the county of Orkney. Orkney has a population of 22,100 people.

Who supplies my water in Kirkwall?

Kirkwall water utilities are supplied by Scottish Water. Here are the main contact numbers for Scottish Water:

How to reach your water provider in Kirkwall

Calling a phone number for Scottish Water is just one method of contact to discuss your Kirkwall water problems.

Below, you can find the principal telephone numbers for Scottish Water general enquiries and emergencies.

Scottish Water phone number Scottish Water Emergency phone number
0800 077 8778 0800 077 8778
24/7/365
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Write to Scottish Water

You can also write to Scottish Water, by composing a letter or sending an email. You can even send your message through the Scottish Water website.

Customer that want to post a letter to Scottish Water can do so by writing to the Scottish Water address below:

Scottish Water Address
Head Office, Castle House, 6 Castle Drive
Dunfermline
KY11 8GG

Customers that would rather email Scottish Water, you should use the following email address:

Scottish Water Email Address
help@scottishwater.co.uk

Water rates in Kirkwall

Water bill in Kirkwall

Water rates in Kirkwall will vary depending on if your home has a water meter or not. You can easily find out whether your Kirkwall water rates are metered or unmetered rates by checking your water bill or by contacting your supplier. Homes with metered Kirkwall water rates will have a meter number listed on their water bills.

Metered Customers in Kirkwall

Customers that have a water meter at their Kirkwall property will pay an annual charge that is fixed, plus an extra charge for each cubic meter (m3) consumed. The fixed charge is to cover the essential running costs of Scottish Water. Whilst the variable charges are for the consumption at your Kirkwall home.

Unmetered Customers in Kirkwall

Customers who don't have a meter at their Kirkwall home pay an annual charge for their water usage. This charge is fixed, meaning your water bill will stay the same no matter how much water you use at your Kirkwall home.

Water rates for unmetered customers in Kirkwall is based on the rateable value of your home. The rateable value part of your Kirkwall water rates will have been determined by the local council in the 90s and are unlikey to have changed since then.

Should I get a water meter installed? It really depends on how much water you consume annually. If your family is small, or you don't live with others, having a water meter installed at your Kirkwall might work out cheaper.

Customers with large households are unlikely to see any savings by installing a water meter.

How do I pay my Kirkwall water bill?

First of all, you will need to register with Scottish Water. After you've registered with Scottish Water, you will be offered a choice of payment options such as:

  • Direct Debit
  • Online payments
  • Pay over the phone
  • Bank transfer
  • Payment by cheque
  • Payment card

You should also be able to choose how frequently you pay your Kirkwall bill. While some customers like an annual payment, other customers would prefer quarterly, monthly, or even weekly payments instead. After you've set up your Scottish Water account, you will be able to choose your preferred payment method and frequency.

Can I switch the water supplier in Kirkwall?

Unfortunately, your water supplier is fixed and depends on the catchment area based on your postcode. As a customer in Kirkwall KW15, your water supplier is Scottish Water.

Since April 2017, business water customers have been able to switch water suppliers. You can find out if your business is eligible in our guide to switching water suppliers.

Kirkwall Water Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have answered some common questions that customers in Kirkwall have about their water supply.

Frequently Asked Questions About Water in Kirkwall

Is water from the tap in Kirkwall safe to drink?

Yes! It's safe to drink the tap water in Kirkwall. You can rest assured that Kirkwall water meets high standards making it safe to drink. The UK Drinking Water Inspectorate has rated Kirkwall water quality 99.94% in overall mean zonal compliance, which means your water is safe to drink. It is not required to boil or filter Kirkwall water to make it drinkable.

Where does the water in Kirkwall come from?

There are three main sources of water that supply Kirkwall:

  • Surface sources - 93%
  • Groundwater sources - 6%
  • Mixed sources - 1%

Is the water hard in Kirkwall

While rainwater itself is relatively soft, water hardness can change through the water cycle. As rainwater filters through rocks, it picks up minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. The more minerals the water picks up, the harder is your water considered.

The water hardness in Kirkwall is fewer than 60ppm, that means the water hardness in in Kirkwall is rated as soft water.

What does this mean?

The clean water supply to your home in Kirkwall contains low levels of minerals that cause hard water. soft water will give your clothes a softer feel, and your appliances will be more efficient which is good news for your wallet. It also means less limescale build-up in your home appliances meaning they should not break down as often.

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You shouldn't need to use a water softener at your home in Kirkwall.

Kirkwall No Water

If there isn't any running water in your Kirkwall home, you need to find out if the issue is to do with your home plumbing or if the problem is an outage affecting Kirkwall.

If there is no water at your Kirkwall home, do you only have no cold water or no hot water? If you still have cold water but no hot water, the problem will be with the plumbing at your home and not a problem affecting Kirkwall.

If there is no cold water, not even a trickle, contact Scottish Water for advice. If this is the case, you can try these tips:

  1. Check for updates on the "In Your Area" sections of the Scottish Water website for any information explaining why you have no water.
  2. Have a look at the Twitter account for Scottish Water, quite often you will find they have posted an update about the issue.
  3. Talk to your neighbours and see if they are having a problem with their water supply.
  4. Verify your stop tap and make sure it's open.

Kirkwall water leak or flooding

Kirkwall water problems could be anything from a burst water main or flooding, to a leak in your Kirkwall home. This is why you should make sure you know what to do and who to contact regarding water emergencies.

If you notice a water leak or flooding outside your Kirkwall property, you must do one of the following as soon as possible:

  1. Ring Scottish Water regardless if the problem relates to wastewater or clean water.
  2. If you can access the internet from your location, visit the "report a leak" page on the Scottish Water website and fill out the online form.

Why does the water in Kirkwall taste strange?

If you find the taste or smell is different with your Kirkwall water this could be down to one of the following reasons:

  1. Chlorination is a safe way to make sure the pipe network maintains high levels of hygiene throughout.
  2. Seasonal changes can infuse the Kirkwall water with an earthy taste or smell.
  3. Plumbing can cause the taste of your water to change, adding rubbery, salty, or metallic hints to Kirkwall water.

If you are unsure about your water's appearance, smell, or taste, you should get in touch with Scottish Water via the contact channels listed above.

Internet in Kirkwall KW15

Kirkwallinternet connected globe

The broadband speed you get at your Kirkwall home depends on several factors such as:

  • Availability of fibre
  • Distance from the telephone exchange
  • Where you've placed your router
  • If you are connected with ethernet or wi-fi
  • Your broadband provider

Test how fast your internet is and find out how it compares to the average broadband speed for Kirkwall with our fast and simple speed test.

Did you know that the average download speed in the UK is around 62.5Mbps?

Kirkwall Average Download Speed Kirkwall Average Upload Speed
31.60 Mbps 5.30 Mbps
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The internet connection type you have can affect your download and upload speed in Kirkwall. An FTTP is the fastest internet connection available in the UK at the time of writing, this has been rolled out to 31.83% of households in the UK.

ADSL is the slowest type of connection, but for some customers in remote areas this type of connection is the only one that's available.

What should you consider when choosing an internet provider in Kirkwall?

In 2022, the internet is about as important as any other utility, some people might consider it the most important. Which means picking a reliable provider for your internet can be unnerving. To ease the pressure, we've listed the four important points worth considering before choosing an internet provider in Kirkwall.

Availability

The first thing to consider when choosing an internet provider in Kirkwall is what's available. Whilst many homes in Kirkwall should have access to fibre or 'superfast' broadband connections, customers who live in a rural location could face issues getting access to the fastest internet.

Although, homes that have been built in the last few years may already have access to ultrafast FTTH because property developers will often choose to install the latest technology during construction.

Type of connection

How can I connect to the internet in Kirkwall?

  • Fibre broadband
    • This is the fastest type of connection you can get in Kirkwall
    • There are two categories of fibre broadband connections, they are called 'Superfast' and 'Full Fibre'
    • Superfast broadband has a download speed of at least 24 Mbps.
    • A Full Fibre connection has a faster download speed from 300 Mbps up to 1 Gbps.
  • ADSL or ADSL2
    • An internet connection that's provided via your phone line.
    • Has a slower download speed of up to 24 Mbps.
    • Available to 99.9% of Kirkwall homes.
  • Cable
    • Speed that are the same as, or faster than, fibre broadband.
    • Can only choose Virgin Media.
    • Restricted availability in some parts of Kirkwall.
  • 4G/5G, Mobile, and Satellite Broadband
    • Speed is dependant upon the mobile signal strength in Kirkwall.
    • Can be more expensive for heavy users without unlimited data.
    • You don't need a router if you tether the connection to your smartphone, although some of the mobile networks in the UK will not allow tethering.
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broadband connections options

Kirkwall broadband cost

Kirkwall broadband bill

Another important consideration is how much it costs for the broadband in Kirkwall. You will see many broadband providers are offering a low cost deal for new customers, but the price can quickly increase. We recommend you double check the fine print of the deal before you sign up to a internet connection in Kirkwall. Some providers will raise the price even during the initial contract period. In the news recently, there was a BT price hike which affects millions of BT customers.

Kirkwall Broadband Reliability

How reliable the broadband is in Kirkwall also needs consideration, with many people working from home either full-time or part-time, we need to have a reliable internet connection to stay in touch with work can be extremely important.

Then in our freetime we're playing online games with friends or streaming movies and TV shows which without a reliable broadband connection at your Kirkwall home will be an important thing to consider.

Kirkwall broadband technical support

Our final tip, the customer support of your Kirkwall internet connection is of utmost importance. You might never need to contact the internet service provider you choose, however, if you have an issue and need to get in touch with them then having solid customer service that can deal with your problem quickly and efficiently is a strong plus when selecting an internet provider in Kirkwall.

Broadband FAQ

Below we've answered some our the most common questions that customers in Kirkwall have about broadband internet.

Broadband Internet FAQs

Is the internet fast in Kirkwall?

The average broadband speed in Kirkwall is:

Kirkwall Average Download Speed Kirkwall Average Upload Speed
31.60 Mbps 5.30 Mbps

What do ADSL, Superfast, FTTC, FTTH, and FTTP actually mean?

To put it in simple terms, these are the different kinds of internet connection.

  • ADSL: Asymmetric digital subscriber line - a broadband connection like this has a download speed of up to 24 Mbps. However, the further you are from the telephone exchange, the slower your connection will be.
  • Superfast: This type of fibre broadband has a download speed of at least 30 Mbps.
  • FTTC: Fibre To The Cabinet - this is a fibre connection that is delivered to one of those green boxes on your street in Kirkwall, from there it's connected to your home through your traditional copper wire telephone line.
  • FTTP/FTTH: Fibre To The Premises/Home - This type of fibre connection is use 100% fibre cables to your Kirkwall property. That means it's the fastest and most reliable type of broadband fibre internet. Currently, 31.83% of homes in the UK .

How fast internet should my internet be?

That would depend on what kind of internet user you are. Take a look at this table for a rough guide to the kind of broadband speed you should pick when signing up for broadband in Kirkwall.

Usual Internet habits Recommended Download Speed Maximum of 2 devices
Maximum of 2 devices Email, web browsing, working from home (WFH), light streaming, etc 10-25 Mbps Broadband
Up to 5 devices AAll the above, plus online gaming and 4K streaming 50-100 Mbps Broadband
More than 5 devices All the above plus large file transfers or streaming your own video content on the web 100+ Mbps Broadband

What's the difference between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi?

2.4ghz and 5ghz are the kinds of radio frequencies that internet routers use to transmit data to connected devices. 2.4Ghz WiFi travels across longer distances, but does so at slower speeds. 5Ghz WiFi signals have a smaller radius, but will transmit the data between devices at faster rates.

What's the telephone dialling code of Kirkwall

Corded telephone area code Kirkwall

The telephone dialling code, sometimes called the area code, for Kirkwall is 01806. When making a call to someone in Kirkwall, and you are in a different area, you will need to add 01806 to the number you'd like to call.

How much does an 01806 Kirkwall call cost?

If you have a call plan with your landline or mobile, the cost of the call should be included with your tariff. If you don't have an included calls tariff, it should cost in the region of 10p per minute, plus the call set-up charge.

If you are uncertain whether you have a plan that includes calls, please check with your provider before you make the call to avoid additional charges on your next phone bill.

How many different area codes are there in the UK? Including Northern Ireland, The UK has 645 area codes. UK area codes can be three, four, or five digits long.

Electricity and Gas in Kirkwall

People living in Kirkwall are able to choose their gas and electricity provider, but regardless of which supplier they choose, the electricity and gas is distributed and taken care of by the regional network operator.

We call them Distribution Network operators (DNOs) and these are the companies that own and operates the infrastructure that connect your Kirkwall home to the gas network and electricity grid.

In many cases you will never need to ever contact the Kirkwall distribution network operator, but should you ever need to, you can quickly find out which DNO covers Kirkwall in this section.

You can find out more information about what a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) does in our Distribution Network Operator guide

Electricity Distribution Network Operator responsible for Kirkwall

The electricity distribution network operator for Kirkwall is SGN. You can find the SGN contact details in the table below:

SGN Contact Information
General Enquiries 0800 912 1700
Emergencies 0800 111 999
Email customer@sgn.co.uk
Website https://www.sgn.co.uk/
Address Inveralmond House, 200 Dunkeld Road
Perth

There are a total of six electricity distribution network operators that cover the UK:

  1. Electricity North West
  2. Northern Powergrid
  3. SSE Networks
  4. SP Energy Networks
  5. UK Power Networks
  6. Western Power Distribution
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Power Generation near Kirkwall

There are no power plants within a 10 mile radius of Kirkwall.

Fossil Fuels

In 2021, fossil fuels accounted for 47.4% of the UK’s electricity generation. The majority of which was natural gas (42%) and coal (2.7%). Additionally, a small amount was produced from other types of fossil fuels (2.7%). The amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels varies each year.

Nuclear Power

16.1% of electricity was generated by nuclear reactors in 2021, this is expected to reduce in the next few years as nuclear power stations in the UK’s begin to close, all but one is expected to stop producing energy by 2035. However, there are plans to build new nuclear reactors such as Hinkley Point C which is currently being built.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy produced 40.3% of electricity in 2021, that's up from 29% in 2018. Renewable fuel sources include solar, wind, hydro, and biomass. We can expect to see this continue increasing as the UK aims to meet its net-zero targets.

Municipalities Near Kirkwall

You might be wondering which municipalities are within reach of Kirkwall, we've found the five nearest towns and cities to Kirkwall.

Closest five municipalities to Kirkwall
Municipality Distance from Kirkwall
Stromness 11.31 miles
Thurso 41.03 miles
Lybster 43.27 miles
Halkirk 43.9 miles