OFGEM has confirmed that it will be “reviewing” individual cases of what has been described as “poor practice from energy suppliers” presented to the industry regulator by two Shetland politicians.
The commitment follows a series of meetings Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael and Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart have had with representatives from the London based watchdog.
The Liberal Democrat politicians gathered a range of evidence from constituents outlining poor service, inconsistent access to competitive tariffs and price hikes in recent years.
Following a further meeting with Ofgem on Monday, the regulator confirmed that it was “reviewing the cases presented to us by Ms Wishart and Mr Carmichael.”
The regulator reiterated that all customers must be treated equally and have a right to switch regardless of their meter.
It it became aware that a supplier might not be meeting the licence conditions, it would engage with the energy supplier and, based on the evidence, would work towards resolving any issues, the regulator said.
“Customers with restricted meters should be able to shop around for suitable single-rate tariffs without having to change their existing metering arrangements,” a spokesperson for Ofgem said.
“Suppliers must offer their single rate tariffs to customers with restricted meters who meet the necessary requirements of those tariffs.”
Wishart welcomed Ofgem’s willingness to investigate matters but warned this must not be a “token gesture”.
“Ofgem seemed to finally recognise that poor practices in the energy market are not isolated incidents,” she said.
“Instead there are wholesale issues with price increases and customer service affecting too many customers.
“Ofgem agreed to investigate matters further and I look forward to further discussion with them in the New Year. The regulator has reiterated that everyone has a right to switch, even with a restricted meter – and that energy suppliers who suggest otherwise are wrong.
Carmichael described the commitment as “a step in the right direction”. He added that he was looking forward to hearing about future progress from Ofgem in the coming weeks and months.
“Islanders deserve fair treatment and confidence that the regulator is keeping a close eye on suppliers,” the MP said.
“This may not be the end of poor behaviour by energy companies but I am hopeful that we will see a more hands-on approach from Ofgem as we move forward.”
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