I was contacted recently by a lady of very mature years (92) who was given my number by a friend who had also had support from our project. She was very upset when she called me and did not know where to turn or what to do about her energy issue.
She had been with a company that went out of business in November 2021 and had been paying regularly by direct debit. A payment was taken by them in December even though they were no longer supplying her with energy.
Her service was transferred to Scottish Power. She had called them on many occasions to set up a direct debit for her ongoing usage and they had called her at least 3 times asking for bank details which were provided. Due to some technical issue that they were unable to explain they seemed unable to set up the direct debit for my client and instead said she would have to pay quarterly and that she already owed £700.00.
This was quite upsetting for my client as she had tried numerous times to sort out the direct debit but without success, she was also unable to obtain meter readings herself due to an issue with the ramp to her property. The handrail for the ramp was blocking access to both the gas and electricity meters so the gas could not be turned off in the case of an emergency, this issue had only been noticed when the new supplier had asked for meter readings.
After discussion with a colleague two complaints were made on behalf of this client – the first to the local authority stating that the client was not safe due to being unable to access her meters to turn off the supply.
Several phone calls and emails resulted in the swift alteration of the ramp which has had to be moved to allow access. Unfortunately, the contractors subsequently flooded the clients’ garage with water after leaving a tap turned on, damaging some of her belongings and the charging pack for her mobility scooter – this issue has been referred to the local authority.
The second complaint was made to the Chief Executive’s office of Scottish Power for their failure to set up the direct debit for the client despite many contacts with her, they also failed to act on her vulnerability despite being told of her age and concerns.
With the intervention of the CEO’s office a direct debit was set up for my client, she was placed on the priority services register and will have her meters read regularly by Scottish Power. They have also given £100.00 in compensation and will review the account upon receipt of the credit balance from the previous supplier.
Except for the damaged personal effects (the issue of which is ongoing), the energy issues for this client have been satisfactorily resolved and the client was very grateful for our help. She now has a direct debit set up and can, if need be, access her meter boxes to turn off her gas supply in the event of an emergency.