MP takes up the case to ensure all customers receive best deal
Between £600,000 and £1million per year has been overcharged on up to a thousand gas customers in Stornoway who have been wrongly denied access to the cheapest available tariff, Isles MP Angus MacNeil has discovered.
Following a complaint from a constituent that island LPG customers were being denied access to Scottish Gas’ cheapest advertised tariffs – in direct contravention of the 1995 Gas Regulation Act – Mr MacNeil wrote to the regulatory body, Ofgem, which concluded that all Scottish Gas customers regardless of where they lived, including those in Stornoway, were entitled to the company’s cheapest tariffs – a finding which could have saved up to a thousand island households and businesses hundreds of pounds annually.
Mr MacNeil said:
“My constituent, Derek McPherson, proprietor of Fernlea Guesthouse, Stornoway has been attempting to access Scottish Gas’ cheapest tariffs since 2006 and from their associate company Sainsbury’s Energy since 2013 – tariffs which were available to mainland gas customers but was told wrongly that he could not get tariff on island.
“Scottish Gas repeatedly denied him access to tariffs available to mainland customers and even after Ofgem upheld his complaint regarding access to the cheapest tariff offered by Sainsbury’s Energy, they still refused.
Finally, after my intervention, Scottish Gas conceded Mr McPherson’s claim that they were in breach of ‘statutory obligations’ had been correct.
“Presently Mr McPherson and Scottish Gas are in negotiations regarding the amount of recompense he is entitled to for gas overpayments over a period of many years.
Mr McPherson said: “It has been a long and arduous process getting Scottish Gas to abide by its statutory obligations as stated in the 1995 legislation, but we still have a bit to go. I certainly won’t be settling for anything less than the recompense of all overpayments I have been forced to make over the years and it is my hope that every single Scottish Gas customer, domestic and business, in Stornoway adopts a similar position.”
Mr MacNeil will now take up the case with Scottish Gas and Ofgem to ensure that all island customers are able to access Scottish Gas’ cheapest tariffs and that they are refunded overpayments.
Mr MacNeil added: “I am very grateful to Mr McPherson for bringing this case to my attention and congratulate him for his dogged work as it has implications for up to a thousand Stornoway customers. He has never given up the battle to get what he is entitled to and his dedication to ensure that island customers are not discriminated against is hugely admirable.
“I will continue to pursue this case to ensure all LPG customers get access to the cheapest tariffs and will enquire further to ensure this is not happening elsewhere in Scotland and the wider UK.”