Residents in the Scottish town of Stornoway, have been trapped on a single, pricey, standard tariff for years after wrongly being told they neither qualify for cheaper deals nor have the option of changing providers, because Centrica – which owns British and Scottish Gas, and supplies one third of British households – is the only gas supplier to the island. In a stand that should embolden thwarted customers across the land, a local guesthouse owner has taken on the energy giant and is attempting to claw back a mass rebate after discovering many residents have been overpaying by 30% for over 20 years. Derek McPherson’s five-year battle has exposed how corporations mislead customers with what is, at best, incompetence, at worst, duplicity. Fuel poverty in the Western Isles is among the greatest in the country, with over half of residents spending more than 10% of their income on heating. McPherson reckons Scottish Gas’s refusal to transfer many applicants to more affordable deals has cost them millions. “An elderly neighbour told me she has to go to the old folk’s club every day it’s open as she can’t afford to heat her home,” he says.
Observer 16th Sept 2018 read more »