Saturday 25 May 2024
 11.6°C   SE Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Energy / Energy regulator urged to be more ‘proactive’ over complaints

Frustration at Ofgem’s lack of action on customer service and price hikes

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael.

SHETLAND’S parliamentarians are calling on energy regulator Ofgem to take a more “proactive” approach to supporting islanders frustrated by poor customer service and exorbitant price rises.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael and Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart were speaking after a meeting with Ofgem to share evidence of mounting discontent among Shetlanders.

The Liberal Democrat politicians presented a range of evidence from constituents outlining poor service, inconsistent access to competitive tariffs and price hikes in recent years.

It comes in the same week that new evidence showing the number of Scottish households in extreme fuel poverty rose to more than 300,000.

Between 2018 and 2019 the rate of fuel poverty in remote areas rose to 43 per cent – with Shetland and its exposed climate traditionally among the worst affected parts of the country.

Carmichael said: “The only positive changes we have seen from energy suppliers have come when there has been proactive engagement on our part with them – letters sent by us on behalf of specific constituents.

“There are signs of a systemic problem with companies thinking they can do whatever they like in the isles if they are not caught. That alone should be ringing alarm bells in Ofgem.

“We can only help those who come to us looking for that help and so it is vital that the regulator starts to take a more active role in policing supplier behaviour, or many others risk losing out.”

Wishart said Ofgem needed to take a “much more proactive approach to tackle poor practices and support customers and we will be meeting again to push for measurable action”.

She added: “The evidence we presented to the regulator clearly shows there are wholesale issues in the energy market and we continue to receive representations from constituents reinforcing the points we made.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Both the MP and MSP urged constituents to get in touch if they have issues to raise or if they want to share their experiences with energy providers.

An Ofgem spokesman said the regulator welcomed the parliamentarians’ engagement and “will now examine the information provided and discuss the issues again with the MP and MSP in the near future”.

“Suppliers are required to treat their customers fairly, and Ofgem has protections in place for customers where things go wrong,” the spokesman claimed.

“Ofgem is strengthening support for customers struggling with energy bills ahead of this winter. Our new protections come into effect from 15 December, meaning suppliers will have to provide more protection for customers struggling to pay their energy bills, plus extra help for pre-payment customers.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.