Isles representatives Beatrice Wishart MSP and Alistair Carmichael have secured a commitment that Ofgem will look into poor practices from energy providers.
Ms Wishart and Mr Carmichael met with the energy regulator today to present further evidence from constituents frustrated by poor customer service, inconsistent access to competitive tariffs and price hikes in the past few years. Ofgem agreed to look into the concerns raised, and reiterated that all customers must be treated equally and have a right to switch regardless of their meter. The parliamentarians have welcomed Ofgem willingness to investigate matters but have warned this must not be “a token gesture”.
Ms Wishart said:
“This was a constructive meeting. Ofgem seemed to finally recognise that poor practices in the energy market are not isolated incidents. Instead there are wholesale issues with price increases and customer service affecting too many customers. Ofgem agreed to investigate matters further and I look forward to further discussion with them in the New Year. The regulator has reiterated that everyone has a right to switch, even with a restricted meter – and that energy suppliers who suggest otherwise are wrong.
“Agreeing to this action cannot be a token gesture. We need to see a serious probe into unfair practices affecting people in the Shetland.”
Mr Carmichael said:
“Today’s meeting was a step in the right direction and I look forward to hearing on future progress from Ofgem in the coming weeks and months. Islanders deserve fair treatment and confidence that the regulator is keeping a close eye on suppliers. This may not be the end of poor behaviour by energy companies but I am hopeful that we will see a more hands-on approach from Ofgem as we move forward.”
An Ofgem spokesperson said:
“Ofgem’s rules require energy suppliers to treat all customers fairly.
“Customers with restricted meters should be able to shop around for suitable single-rate tariffs without having to change their existing metering arrangements.
“Suppliers must offer their single rate tariffs to customers with restricted meters who meet the necessary requirements of those tariffs.”