Energy

SSE’s prepay meter switched off my heating at Christmas


On 21 December we completed the purchase of a home but were unaware that SSE had, a few days earlier, gone into the house and installed a prepayment meter because the previous occupier had not paid their bills.

On the same day as the sale went through, I was assured by SSE that, despite all appearances, my meter was a normal one, and that it would not cut out over the Christmas holiday.

Needless to say it wasn’t a standard meter, and soon cut out due to a lack of credit. I was forced to spend hours and hours over Christmas trying to get our gas supply to work so we could have heating and hot water.

I was offered a prepayment card issued at PayPoint shops as a way to get my supply turned back on. The shop I was sent to couldn’t issue me with one – another did, but the card wouldn’t load.

SSE insists that it cannot help unless I am present, forcing me to remain in an unheated house with no hot water and no way of cooking.

MG, Evesham

We are getting a lot of complaints about Ovo, which bought SSE’s retail customers last year, and famously advised customers this week to do star jumps, eat porridge and cuddle pets to keep warm. It seems its administration is not what it should be.

It’s completely unacceptable for the company to leave a customer for almost two weeks without heating in winter. Had the situation been different, someone could have come to serious harm.

After I sent your case to Ovo’s head office, it swiftly sent out an emergency engineer who cleared the meter and added enough credit to get the heating on.

It has apologised, and agreed to change the meter back to pay-monthly billing.We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include a phone number. Letters are subject to our terms: gu.com/letters-terms



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