SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed Ofgem’s announcement that it is taking action against OVO Energy, after evidence of the company’s substandard handling of complaints.
The majority of properties in the Western Isles are supplied by OVO (previously SSE), and the Western Isles MSP has assisted almost 200 households in resolving ongoing complaints with OVO since 2021.
Concerns were lodged with Ofgem by the ombudsman, as OVO had not implemented remedies recommended by the dispute resolution service to improve their complaints handling. There have been a number of local examples raised with the islands’ MSP where even actions prescribed by the ombudsman in order to resolve a customer problem and provide compensation were ignored by OVO.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan said:
“I welcome this step from Ofgem, and I hope we see real long-term improvement as a result, in terms of how OVO treats its customers. Far too many of my constituents have been subjected to waiting times of many months for appointments to get meters installed or repaired, which is outrageous. They have also experienced an almost impossible situation in terms of contacting OVO’s customer service staff. There have even been instances, of late, where vulnerable households have been left without power for days on end.
“I look forward to meeting with OVO shortly to discuss what they are doing to better deliver their services for Western Isles customers, including employing more engineers on-island.
“I will also continue liaising with Ofgem on the persistent issues being experienced by OVO’s island customers. Energy bills are stressful enough for people to deal with during this cost-of-living crisis – people should not have to endure additional difficulty when trying to access basic customer service and timely complaints resolutions.”
This week, Ofgem said they had “set clear expectations and improvement targets [of OVO]” and “have requested detailed reporting on a range of complaint metrics and set OVO the objective of addressing all outstanding complaints, implementing all outstanding Energy Ombudsman decisions, while reducing complaint resolution times and the volume of referrals made.”
OVO will be fined by Ofgem if the issues in question are not fully addressed.