After an eight year battle, including three trips to court, my local MSP's involvement, and even a question being asked on my behalf at the last Scottish Budget in Parliament, I lost my case against Business Stream (Scottish Water). Despite not using a single drop of water, I am now in debt to the tune of £8,729.86.
Here's a "brief" summary of those eight years:
Having signed my lease in December 2013, I was shocked that I was being billed by Business Stream/Scottish Water from July, six months earlier. I was also amazed that they could be asking for almost £100 p/m, when my monthly electricity bill was a mere £9. After emailing their support team to complain, I received a very disappointing reply stating the law was the law, they had my correct info on their system, and as there was no meter in the premises I was being billed the correct amount. The letter ended with the instruction to call the number provided if I didn't find their response satisfactory.
When I called and was flatly refused the installation of a water meter on multiple occasions, and after speaking with numerous local businesses and learning of their shared experiences with Business Stream, I hired a professional plumber to cap the water pipes and disconnect all the waste outlets in the unit. When I continually refused to pay them for the six months I wasn't even there, and stood my ground over the usage (now that the unit was technically dry), we ended up in court.
It wasn't until the third trip to court (in December 2020), that I realised the billing dates of the case had suddenly been changed. I was no longer being hounded from the summer of 2013. Or from 2014. The new and improved version started in April 2015. I couldn't understand why on earth this had happened as that was a significant amount of money being chopped off. That is, until I tried to provide my evidence in court.
The Sheriff could no longer hear the majority of my proof as it fell outwith the remit of the new case. All of their screw ups were no longer admissible. I had barely any evidence at all for the period now in question. All I could point out was never having any issue with my electricity supplier, never having missed or been late with a rent payment, and having no outstanding credit card/loan debts. Basically, I wasn't a bad creditor who ran from his responsibilities. "I just refuse to be shafted, m'lady". I even offered to pay every single penny of the cost for the drainage off the roof and pavement since Dec'13, in order to help with the maintaining of the drainage and sewer systems.
However, the fact that I hadn't been *officially* disconnected from the mains outside the front door was the reason I lost. A thin pipe of stagnant water was under my floor, and despite the toilet never being flushed or the taps run, I am somehow responsible for the maximum rateable value of the unit.
After losing the case, I also learned that in order to get Scottish Water to officially cut me off, the pavement outside my studio would need to be excavated, and I would not only need to pay them to do so, I would need to pay in advance. And quotes for such a job can range anywhere up to £15,000, possibly even as much as £20,000.
So, that's the story of how I got shafted for a utility I never needed nor wanted. And if you are able to help me avoid filing for bankruptcy and losing the company I have spent eight years building, I would be eternally grateful.
ln fact, as some of you will know, I'm really not a fan of crowdfunding money for personal reasons. So, I will be painting a few large canvases in the coming months, and all those who contribute in any way will be included in some free prize draws. You don't even have to financially contribute to be included. Sharing the link will be sufficient enough.
If you'd like to financially contribute but can't, then please email me your name to:
and I'll gladly add your name to the list.
Thanks in advance,