Utilities in <u>Orkney

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Your Complete Guide to Utilities in Orkney

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

About Orkney, Orkney

Orkney KW17 has a population of 19,245 and is located in the county of Orkney. Orkney has a population of 22,100 people.

Who supplies my water in Orkney?

Orkney water services are supplied by Scottish Water. Below are the main phone numbers for Scottish Water:

How to get in touch with the water supplier in Orkney

Speaking to an advisor at Scottish Water is one of many options to talk about your Orkney water problems.

In the table below you will find the phone 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 get in touch with Scottish Water, you have the choice of posting a letter or sending an email. You can also submit your request on the Scottish Water website.

If you prefer to write 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

If you want to email Scottish Water, you can use the email address below:

Scottish Water Email Address
help@scottishwater.co.uk

Water rates in Orkney

Water bill in Orkney

Water rates in Orkney will vary depending on if your home has a water meter or not. It's easy to find out if your Orkney water rates are metered or unmetered rates by checking your water bill or by contacting your supplier. Homes with metered Orkney water rates will have a meter number listed on their water bills.

Metered Customers in Orkney

Customers with a water meter at their Orkney home will pay a fixed annual charge, plus a charge for each cubic meter (m3) that's used. The fixed charge is to cover the essential running costs of Scottish Water. Whilst the variable charges cover the consumption at your Orkney home.

Unmetered Customers in Orkney

Customers without a meter at their Orkney home pay an annual charge for their water usage. This charge is fixed, meaning you'll pay the same no matter how much water you use at your Orkney home.

The rate unmetered customers pay for water in Orkney is based on the rateable value of your home. The rateable value calculation of your Orkney water rates will have been determined by the local council in the 90s and is likely that they have not changed since then.

Should I get a water meter installed? It really depends on how much water you consume annually. If you have a small family, or live alone, getting a water meter for your Orkney may save you money.

Customers with big families are probably not going to save money by installing a water meter.

How do I pay my Orkney water bill?

You will first need to register with Scottish Water. Once you've registered an account with Scottish Water, you will be able to choose your preferred payment method, such as:

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

You may be able to choose how often you pay your Orkney bill. While some customers like an annual payment, other customers might like to set up quarterly, monthly, or even weekly payments instead. After you've set up your Scottish Water account, you will be able to choose how often you recieve your water bill and how to pay for it.

Can I switch the water supplier in Orkney?

Unfortunately, your water supplier is fixed and depends on the catchment area based on your postcode. As a customer in Orkney KW17, 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.

Orkney Water Frequently Asked Questions

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

Frequently Asked Questions About Water in Orkney

Is water from the tap in Orkney safe to drink?

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

Where does the water in Orkney come from?

There are three main sources of water that supply Orkney:

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

What's the water hardness rating in Orkney

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 rating in Orkney is fewer than 60ppm, this means the water in in Orkney is rated as soft water.

What does this mean?

The water supply to your home in Orkney contains a minimal level of hard water minerals. soft water means your clothes should be softer after washing, and your appliances more efficient. You might also notice less limescale build-up in your 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 Orkney.

Orkney No Water

If you don't have any running water in your Orkney home, you will need to check if the issue is to do with your home plumbing or if the problem is an outage affecting Orkney.

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

If there is no cold water, not even a trickle, contact Scottish Water for assistance. You can also try the following:

  1. Look at the "In Your Area" sections on the Scottish Water website for any information explaining the reason your home has no water.
  2. Check the Twitter account of Scottish Water, quite often you will find they have posted an update about the issue.
  3. Ask your neighbours whether they have the same issue as you.
  4. Verify your stop tap and make sure it's open.

Orkney water leak or flooding

Orkney water problems might include anything from a burst water main or flooding, to a leak in your Orkney home. So you must make sure you know who to contact and what to do and if you have a water emergency.

If you notice a water leak or flooding outside your Orkney property, you need to do one of the following as quickly as you can:

  1. Ring Scottish Water whether the problem is with clean water or wastewater.
  2. If you can go on the internet at your current location, navigate to the "report a leak" area of the Scottish Water website and complete the online form to report the issue.

Why does the water in Orkney taste strange?

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

  1. Chlorination is a safe way to ensure hygiene throughout the pipe network.
  2. Seasonal changes can infuse the Orkney water with a somewhat earthy aroma or taste.
  3. Plumbing can also contribute to the taste of your household water, adding rubbery, salty, or metallic hints to Orkney water.

If you are unsure about your water's appearance, smell, or taste, you should not hesitate to reach Scottish Water via the contact channels listed above.

Broadband Speed in Orkney KW17

Orkneyinternet connected globe

The speed of your broadband connection at your Orkney home can vary depending on several factors such as:

  • Fibre availability
  • Distance from the telephone exchange
  • Where you've placed your router
  • Using wi-fi or ethernet connection
  • Which provider you have

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

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

Orkney Average Download Speed Orkney Average Upload Speed
31.60 Mbps 5.30 Mbps
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The type of internet connection you have can have an effect on the speed you get in Orkney. An FTTP is currently the fastest broadband connection you can get in the UK at the time of writing, this has been rolled out to 31.83% of UK households.

ADSL internet connections are the slowest, in parts of the UK that are more remote it is the only means of connection currently available.

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

It's 2022, which means the internet is just as important as any other utility, maybe even more important. That means choosing an internet service provider could feel daunting. Worry not, we've covered four main points that you should consider when choosing an internet provider in Orkney.

Availability

The first point to bear in mind when choosing an internet provider in Orkney is what's available. The majority of homes in Orkney should have access to fibre or 'superfast' broadband connections, people outside a built-up area may have limited access to the type of connection.

That being said, homes that have been built recently will likely have be able to get ultrafast FTTH as developers often tend to install the latest technology during construction.

Type of connection

What kinds of internet connection are available in Orkney?

  • Fibre broadband
    • This is the fastest type of connection you can get in Orkney
    • Fibre broadband is split into two categories, they are called 'Superfast' and 'Full Fibre'
    • Superfast broadband gives you a minimum download speed of at least 24 Mbps.
    • A Full Fibre broadband connection has a faster download speed from 300 Mbps up to 1 Gbps.
  • ADSL or ADSL2
    • An older type of connection that is delivered through a standard telephone line.
    • Limited download speed of up to 24 Mbps.
    • Available to the majority of Orkney homes.
  • Cable
    • Speed that are the same as, or faster than, fibre broadband.
    • Can only choose Virgin Media.
    • Availability can be limited in some parts of Orkney.
  • 4G/5G, Mobile, and Satellite Broadband
    • Speed is dependant upon the mobile signal strength in Orkney.
    • Could prove more expensive unless you have an unlimited data tariff.
    • No special equipment required by tethering to your smartphone, although some of the mobile networks in the UK will not allow tethering.
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broadband connections options

Orkney broadband cost

Orkney broadband bill

You should also think about how much it costs for the broadband in Orkney. It's easy to find a broadband provider that's offering a low priced offer especially for new customers, however you might find the rate suddenly goes up. It's important to read the fine print of the deal before you commit to a internet connection in Orkney. Some providers may even increase the price during the initial contract period. In the news recently, there was a BT price hike which will be felt by millions of BT customers.

Orkney Broadband Reliability

The reliability of broadband in Orkney should also be considered, with many of us working from home on a part-time or full-time basis, we need to have a reliable internet connection to keep up to date with work your work is a priority.

The times when we're not working we're streaming movies or playing online games with friends that without a reliable internet connection for your Orkney home will be an important thing to consider.

Orkney broadband technical support

Finally, the customer service of your Orkney broadband connection is really important. Hopefully you shouldn't have to contact your broadband provider, but should the need to contact them arises a high level of customer support that can deal with your problem quickly and efficiently is definitely something worth considering when selecting an internet provider in Orkney.

Broadband FAQ

Below we've answered some our the most common questions that customers in Orkney ask about their broadband.

Broadband Frequently Asked Questions

How fast is the broadband in Orkney?

The average internet speed in Orkney is:

Orkney Average Download Speed Orkney Average Upload Speed
31.60 Mbps 5.30 Mbps

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

In simple terms, these are the different kinds of internet connection.

  • ADSL: Asymmetric digital subscriber line - this type of connection has speeds up to 24 Mbps. However, the further you are from the telephone exchange, the slower your connection will be.
  • Superfast: This is a kind of fibre broadband connection with download speeds of at least 30 Mbps.
  • FTTC: Fibre To The Cabinet - this is a fibre connection that is delivered to one of those green cabinets that you might have near your home in Orkney, from there it's connected to your home via your standard telephone line.
  • FTTP/FTTH: Fibre To The Premises/Home - This type of fibre connection is use 100% fibre cables to your Orkney house. This means it's very fast and extremely reliable. At the time of writing, 31.83% of houses in the UK .

How fast internet should my internet be?

That will be dependant on what kind of internet user you are. Have a look at the following table to find out the kind of broadband speed you should pick when getting connected in Orkney.

Frequent internet uses Recommended Broadband Download Speed Up to 2 devices
Up to 2 devices Web, email, working from home (WFH), light streaming, social media, etc 10-25 Mbps Broadband
Up to 5 devices AAll of the above, online gaming and 4K streaming 50-100 Mbps Broadband
More than 5 devices All of the above, streaming your own video content on the web or large file transfers 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 further, but transmit data at slower speeds. 5Ghz WiFi signals have less range, but are able to transmit your data at faster speeds.

What's the telephone area code for Orkney

Corded telephone area code Orkney

The telephone dialling code, sometimes called the area code, for Orkney is 01856. If you're calling somebody in Orkney, and you are not in the same area, you should add 01856 to the number you're calling.

How much does an 01856 Orkney call cost?

If calls are included with your landline or mobile, the cost of the call will probably be included as part of your tariff. Without an inclusive calls plan, you can expect to pay around 10p per minute, plus an additional call set-up charge.

If you are unsure whether you have calls included in your tariff, we recommend getting in touch with your provider before you make the call to avoid additional charges on your next phone bill.

How many dialling codes does the UK have? Including Northern Ireland, The UK has 645 area codes. UK area codes can be three, four, or five digits long.

Gas and Electricity in Orkney

Residents of Orkney can choose their own supplier for gas and electricity, but whichever supplier they are with, the electricity and gas is supplied and maintained by the regional network operator.

These network operators are officially called Distribution Network operators (DNOs) and these are the companies that own, operates and maintains the infrastructure that connects your Orkney home to the gas network and electricity grid.

Most of the time you will never need to ever contact the Orkney distribution network operator, but should the need arise, you can easily find out which DNO is responsible for Orkney right here.

You can also read more about what a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) does in our Distribution Network Operator guide

Electricity Distribution Network Operator responsible for Orkney

The electricity distribution network operator for Orkney 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 Orkney

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

Fossil Fuels

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

Nuclear Power

16.1% of the UK's electricity came from nuclear reactors in 2021, and in the coming years this is expected to reduce as the UK’s nuclear power stations begin to close, all but one is expected to stop producing energy by 2035. However, we can expect new nuclear reactors to be built such as Hinkley Point C which is currently being built.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy generated 40.3% of electricity in 2021, that's up from 29% in 2018. Renewable fuel sources include hydro, solar, wind, and biomass. This is expected to continue rising as the UK strives to hit its net-zero targets.

Towns and Cities Near Orkney

If you've ever wondered which municipalities are nearby Orkney, in the table below you can see the five closest municipalities to Orkney.

Closest five municipalities to Orkney
Municipality Distance from Orkney
Stromness 14.81 miles
Lybster 35.24 miles
Thurso 36.72 miles
Halkirk 37.59 miles