SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, met this afternoon with representatives of OVO/SSE to demand answers as to why customers in the Western Isles were still facing months-long delays in securing appointments to install new electricity meters.
Some constituents have told the MSP that OVO advisers have refused to give any indication of when they can expect to secure an appointment. Others have been advised that it will be 2025 before they will be able to get an appointment with an OVO engineer to replace or repair their meter.
When the islands’ MSP last met with the energy supplier, assurances were given that there should be an OVO engineer in place in the islands before Christmas 2022 who would begin working through the backlog of urgent meter work. However, this has not materialised.
In today’s meeting, Allan made clear to OVO representatives the impact of the extensive delays and inability to even book appointments for Western Isles properties. OVO offered apologies and said they recognised that there was a particular issue in the Highlands and Islands with the scheduling of meter appointments, and that they were continuing to take steps to address these issues as quickly as possible. They also committed to pursue further the option of sharing engineers as well as exploring ways to improve how complaints from Western Isles customers are dealt with.
Commenting after the meeting, Allan said:
“The lack of regard OVO has shown for Western Isles customers who are simply asking for a basic level of service is absolutely unacceptable. Energy suppliers have a statutory obligation to complete meter repairs/installations in a timely manner, no matter where customers are based, and OVO, quite simply, continue to fail to do so.
“I appreciate that there are workforce and skills shortage challenges in this (and many other sectors) at present. However, all the other energy suppliers with Western Isles customers seem to have managed to get their act together and complete outstanding appointments.
“To say to customers that it will be two years before they’ll get an appointment is, quite frankly, outrageous. OVO need to urgently prioritise their Western Isles customers.”