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A Stornoway guest house operator is suing the Energy Ombudsman for alleged flaws in its service after he complained about overcharging by Scottish Gas .


At Stornoway Sheriff Court, Derek McPherson - who is seeking over £3,300 compensation - claims the watchdog made a “deliberate attempt to mislead” the sheriff.


But the organisation’s solicitor, Kathleen Maciver, urged Sheriff David Sutherland to throw out the claim.


She insisted the ombudsman’s remit excludes disputes concerning propane gas, asking the sheriff to “strike out the plea today.”


Mr McPherson, who is representing his own case, retorted the issue actually focused on “piped propane” - referring to fuel stored and pumped from the Stornoway gasworks through a network of pipes - which is a “completely different thing to propane.”


He wants the ombudsman to pay for the time and expense he spent in attempting to get them to sort out their investigation into complaints he raised.


Sheriff David Sutherland continued the action to next month.


The background to the row stems to Derek McPherson’s campaign to stop alleged discrimination against islanders who receive gas piped from the Stornoway gasworks to their homes. The fuel is shipped in by sea tanker and stored on a site on the edge of town before being piped to houses within Stornoway.


Mr McPherson who runs the Fearnlea Guesthouse on Matheson Road hoped the watchdog would help but launched the legal action after dissatisfaction with their service.


The B&B landlord previously said he ended up paying 30% extra, claiming Scottish Gas - who has no involvement with the legal action - had been charging a more expensive “Stornoway” tariff to its 1,100 customers in the town.


Energy regulator Ofgem later took up the issue to ensure island customers are allowed to move onto the cheapest tariff, including its “white label” operation with Sainsbury’s Energy.


Scottish Gas denied claims up to a thousand households may have been overcharged, saying 350 customers in Stornoway switched to a different deal.




Energy Ombudsman being sued over Stornoway gas overcharging row

17 Nov 2017

Derek McPherson is taking the Energy Ombudsman to court