Stornoway families are being wrongly overcharged up to £1 million a year in gas bills
it is claimed.
Isles MP, Angus MacNeil, believes around 1,100 Scottish Gas customers in the town
are being discriminated against because they live on an island.
Scottish Gas has been charging a more expensive “Stornoway” tariff, it is maintained.
The MP says Stornoway households and businesses are wrongly denied access to the
cheapest available tariff.
Stornoway guest house operator, Derek Macpherson, says he was massively overcharged
by at least a third as a result.
Scottish Gas is offering to repay him £1,500 t cover the last three years but he
believes he has lost out much more than they calculate.
Following Angus MacNeil’s intervention, energy regulator, Ofgem, took up the issue
to ensure island customers are allowed to move onto the cheapest tariff.
Regardless of where they live, Ofgem insists all Scottish Gas customers are entitled
to the firm‘s cheapest tariffs, including its “white label” operation with Sainsbury’s
Angus MacNeil said: “Some island customers have been overcharged by £600.
This means Stornoway households are being overcharged anywhere between £600,000 and
£1 million per year, he says.
“That money should be paid back with interest.”
He added: “The sharp practice of pretending to some customers they weren’t allowed
to have the cheapest tariff has left a lot of people short changed over a number
“ Scottish Gas should pay the money back and apologise.”
Kersti Berge, head of Ofgem in Scotland, said all suppliers - including Scottish
Gas - are “required to tell its customers about the cheapest tariff its offers either
directly or by one of its white label suppliers.”
That includes the tariff deals from Sainsbury’s Energy which is run by Scottish Gas.
She said Ofgem has contacted Scottish Gas as a result of Mr MacNeil’s intervention.
Now the utility retailer will ensure all of their price schemes are available to
“customers in all regions,” she said.
Islanders “should be made aware” they can switch to the cheapest price.
Thus Scottish Gas will make their “full range of tariffs available to customers across
North Scotland, including Stornoway,” she wrote in a letter to the MP.
Scottish Gas told Hebrides News it will respond to the claims later today.