Thursday, 2 September 2010
Banff & Buchan SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the announcement that Ofgem is to investigate energy providers over claims that they are misleading customers being persuaded to switch supplier on their doorstep or over the phone.
The MP believes the move is a step in the right direction to supporting consumers in the complex energy market but says more is needed to tackle the underlying problem of excessive fuel prices, especially in the heating oil market which has seen huge inflation in recent years.
Welcoming the investigation Dr Whiteford said:
“This is not a new problem, and any steps to end mis-selling are welcome. A great deal of effort has gone into persuading people to switch suppliers but in many cases they have actually ended up with a worse deal.
“The energy market is complex with a multitude of supplier each with a range of energy tariffs. That complexity has clearly been used by less scrupulous sellers over the phone and on the doorstep to persuade customers to switch suppliers.
“Consumers must be afforded greater protection and better options to address complaints and concerns when energy contracts go wrong.
“This action, however, does nothing to tackle the real problem of fuel prices which leave many people in Banff & Buchan facing great difficulty in heating their homes. This situation will only get worse as the Coalition Government target winter fuel and benefit payments for cuts.
“Rather than tinkering around the edges Ofgem should be looking at how to reduce prices for vulnerable households, especially in areas like the rural North of Scotland which suffer very cold winters putting excessive pressure on household budgets.”