UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Saturday 22 June 2024
 13.1°C   WSW Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Community / Carmichael calls on energy regulator to act while two suppliers confirm not all meter applications will be granted

ONE OF the largest energy suppliers in the UK says it offers new meter installations for private houses across the islands – but requests from developers are being assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Octopus Energy said decisions to install meters would be made on the basis of resources available.

The company responded to media enquiries after isles MP Alistair Carmichael and Orkney MSP Liam McArthur raised the alarm when it emerged people building new houses were increasingly unable to find an energy supplier willing to install a meter and sell electricity.

A spokesperson for Ovo Energy, formerly SSE, the main electricity supplier in Shetland, said all energy suppliers are required to offer new connections to individual customers, when requested, within a reasonable timeframe.

But they said suppliers do not have a requirement to offer meter connections to commercial properties, such as new build sites, unless there is a contract set up with the house builder. OVO currently has no active property partnerships in the UK.

Meanwhile, energy regulator Ofgem insisted energy companies “must offer” to supply a domestic household once approached by a customer “including where this necessitates the installation of a meter to enable supply”.

“We have been clear about our expectations in this area, and carefully assess all intelligence of potential non-compliance that we receive in order to determine the most appropriate action to take,” a spokesperson for the regulator said.

Carmichael said the last thing that was needed was another Ofgem investigation.

“Not for the first time Ofgem completely misses the point. Domestic households are only part of the problem here,” he said.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

“The lack of supply meters to developers seems not to be covered and that affects scores of new build local properties.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

“We need them to use the powers they have and to move to enforcement.”

The two Lib Dem politicians raised the issue after Orkney Builders found it impossible to get a new housing scheme connected as all relevant energy supply companies had refused to install energy meters in the new builds.

In Shetland, Hjaltland Housing Association has voiced concern that it may also be faced with difficulties when it comes to getting electricity connections for tenants in new housing schemes in Scalloway, Brae and Aith.

Meanwhile Shetland Islands Council’s depute leader Gary Robinson said: “We know we need to have more houses in Shetland, and in the islands full stop. It just makes for another obstacle for anybody that’s trying to get their own house.”

With a UK market share of an estimated 7.5 per cent, Octopus Energy is not cited as one of the ‘big six’ energy companies but has an increasing customer base in the isles.

A spokesperson said: “We offer new meter installations for all houses, both new and old, in Orkney and Shetland (and indeed anywhere else in the country).

“In fact, we have dozens of meter installations booked across the islands over the coming weeks. Our engineers are based across the country, and they can complete jobs wherever customers require new connections, including the islands.

“Supply through a developer or housing association would come through our non-domestic energy supply business Octopus Energy for Business.

“We assess each developer request on a case-by-case basis – our non-domestic arm is smaller, and so we will make a decision based on resources available.

“That said, we will always listen to requests that come through and do not have a blanket policy of not working in certain areas of the UK.”

However, Carmichael said that it was his understanding Octopus had told Orkney Builders it was not interested in the company’s request.

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.

 

Newsletters

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.