I’ve been trying for months to get Scottish Power to disconnect my gas

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I replaced my gas boiler and hob with an electric one and have been trying, for three months, to get Scottish Power to disconnect the gas supply. In the meantime, I’m having to pay standing charges.
AF, Bristol

Your email trail with Scottish Power records staggering incompetence. First, you were wrongly told that you had to call the National Grid to get your meter capped before booking a removal appointment. The National Grid referred you to network provider GTC, which confirmed that removal did not require capping and that Scottish Power could do it, or appoint GTC to oblige for a fee.

It asked Scottish Power to complete the relevant paperwork, but the latter told you it could not act as a go-between between customers and third parties. Scottish Power then referred you, bizarrely, to the National Grid emergencies helpline. Eventually, it conceded that it had given you the runaround and promised to book an appointment.

Three days later, you were informed, baldly, that an appointment was not possible and that was the end of it, until I invoked the press office. An appointment was instantly conjured up and standing charges refunded, with £75 in goodwill.

Scottish Power says: “We’re sorry for the incorrect advice the customer received. Normally, a customer would let us know they had made the switch and we would arrange for the meter to be removed.”

Meanwhile, JR of Canterbury was being pursued by bills to his address, but in a stranger’s name, culminating, 18 months later, in a debt collection demand for £2,748.

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Scottish Power eventually issued an apology and a promise that the demands would cease, but JR was then warned bailiffs would enter his home if the debt wasn’t settled within 21 days.

Scottish Power decided it could only close the account in the stranger’s name if he opened one in his own, which he duly did. The result was a demand for more than £3,000 and the threat of court proceedings. “My wife and I are in advanced years and this stress is making us ill,” he writes.

Scottish Power’s press office discovered the mysterious truth: the stranger named in the bills had, for reasons unfathomable, applied online to move the electricity supply at JR’s address to Scottish Power in 2020 and paid the first bill before cancelling the direct debit.

This means Scottish Power was supplying JR’s house all this time. He should have received a “sorry you’re leaving” notification from his previous supplier, which ceased billing him after his unwitting departure.

Scottish Power reduced the bill to £1,000 and JR has now returned to his old supplier. According to Citizens Advice, householders may not be liable for bills if someone signs them up to a supplier without their permission, and should take advice before paying.

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