SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has called for OVO to urgently improve its customer service, after meeting with an elderly couple who were recently left without power for three days. In the second similar case that has been brought to Allan’s attention in recent days , the family had to negotiate with endless call centres, none of which seemed to be concerned with reintroducing electricity supplies, and which in one case refused to believe the Western Isles postcode area even existed.

Since 2020, the islands’ MSP has helped over 180 constituents in getting meters replaced or faults repaired, after they found they were hitting a brick wall in dealing with energy companies themselves.

Many households have been told by energy providers that there were no available engineer appointments for the foreseeable future, and one customer was even told by an OVO representative they wouldn’t be able to get their meter replaced until 2025 due to the ‘rural’ location. OVO later apologised for this, stating that this was incorrect, and have been working closely with the Western Isles MSP to work through their meter appointment backlog locally.

But there are still a significant number of outstanding issues, most of which relate to a lack of engineers locally employed by OVO, and the reliance which OVO instead seemingly places on flying in engineers from Glasgow for the day to fit a couple of meters at a time.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan said:

“While I am pleased to have been able to help so many people resolve meter appointment issues, it is not right that it should take an MSP’s intervention for island customers to be afforded an adequate level of service from their energy providers. The low-quality service still being experienced by many of my constituents is completely unacceptable. From OVO in particular, the service is woeful.

“Energy companies must do better and demonstrate a shift in attitude going forward. People in the Western Isles should not be left waiting for an appointment for months on end – that wouldn’t be the case for customers in cities and island or rural properties shouldn’t be pushed to the bottom of the pile. Elderly or vulnerable customers in particular should be prioritised, especially in emergency situations like a total loss of power.

“While energy prices have thankfully begun to fall, the UK Government is refusing to provide the same energy bill support as last year, so it will unfortunately be a more difficult winter for many. Meanwhile, companies like OVO need to work out what customer service actually looks like.”



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