Electricity woes ongoing after a year-and-a-half

A north Northumberland man is reaching the end of his tether due to his electricity provider failing to resolve an issue which has been running for 18 months.

Mel Shaw, from Wooler, is threatening to start legal proceedings in the coming month against npower due to repeated failings to sort out the problems, which have rendered him unable to switch supplier.

Mr Shaw first raised these issues in a letter to the Gazette in January this year, explaining that a year prior to that (January 2014), he and his neighbour realised that they had not had a bill from the company since June 2012.

When he tried to change suppliers, he discovered npower had somehow managed to register two meters at his address on a national database, meaning he could not change supplier until npower amended the database.

In January, he was hopeful the matter would soon be resolved as the Ombudsman Service had been contacted and had promised to give its ruling within 10 days.

Mr Shaw said: “They were as good as their word, and on January 14, they wrote a clearly-worded letter confirming that they had ruled in my favour in respect of all 11 complaints against npower, and ordered them to pay £125 as a goodwill gesture.

“Things were starting to look hopeful for a speedy resolution. So, five months later, how far have matters progressed? As Paul Daniels would say, ‘Not a lot’.”

The firm did get in touch in January to say the database had been updated and that a new meter would be fitted, which led to a series of mainly problematic visits from electricians and engineers, phone calls and emails.

Mr Shaw ran out of patience in May and decided to cancel his account, even if he lost the credit in his account and goodwill gesture, only to discover that there were still two meters registered on the database.

Now, as a last resort, he has given npower 30 days to resolve his complaint before starting legal proceedings, despite being ‘a waste of the court’s and everyone else’s time and resources’, as he feels he has no other option.

An npower spokesman said: “We’re disappointed to hear about the delay resolving Mel’s query – and also the poor customer service he has received.

“We’re making sure this is resolved as a priority. We’re also factoring in a suitable goodwill gesture to apologise.”