SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has written to Ofgem again asking to meet to discuss the growing problem of meter installation delays throughout the Western Isles. Consumers have said that certain companies told them they are not taking on new meter connections at the moment, or that they will need to wait upwards of 12 weeks for a meter to be installed or repaired at their property.
A significant number of constituents have written to the islands’ MSP to share their frustration at long wait times, then appointments being cancelled at the last minute and no alternative date arranged, as well as highlighting the knock-on effect on people’s ability to move into new properties, or for those in existing properties to be able to switch to an appropriate tariff.
Commenting, Allan said:
“The situation at the moment is unsustainable and unacceptable. Ofgem confirmed with me at the beginning of the year that, despite what some constituents have been told, energy suppliers do have an obligation to offer to supply a domestic household once approached by a customer, including where this necessitates the installation of a meter to enable supply (set out under Standard Licence Condition (SLC) 22).
“People in the Western Isles should not be having to wait months on end just to get a new meter installed or changed, something which would likely be completed in a much shorter time frame and with far less hassle for customers on the mainland.
“I have been in touch with a number of energy suppliers directly on behalf of constituents in recent months to raise my concerns about the delays and poor communication they have experienced, and meter installations and exchanges are then normally promptly completed for these individuals. However, it is clear that there is a wider issue here. Despite companies assuring me that they are committed to improving the wait times for customers in the Western Isles, unfortunately there has been little evidence of this so far.
“In my view, the practice of contracting local engineers to carry out this work needs to be re-established, and I will be discussing this again both with Ofgem and local energy supply companies.”
Allan has also lodged a written parliamentary question asking the Scottish Government to make representations to energy companies about this issue directly.