A GLASGOW man says he has been left debts of more than £400 after a year-long battle to have a pre-paid power meter installed. 

Stuart Cassidy claims he has been fighting with Scottish Power for 15 months for a pay-as-you-go facility for his electricity and gas. 

The nightmare began when the 54-year-old moved into his Saltmarket property in October 2020. 

Complications over the type of gas meter mean that the energy firm currently cannot install a pre-paid facility due to “health and safety reasons”. 

Glasgow Times:

While Mr Cassidy is sent daily letters and text messages warning him about his debts, he worries that his power may eventually be cut out. 

His sister and carer, Sandra Murray, said: “We have been fighting with Scottish Power for well over a year to get the issue resolved. 

“Last year, he stayed in one of the flats upstairs and always had pre-paid meters. He was admitted to hospital for around 12 weeks.

“During that time, his ground-floor neighbour passed away so his housing association kindly moved him into that flat due to his ill health

“When he moved in, we got in touch with Scottish Power to arrange new readings and to get a pre-paid meter installed so he knew how much he was burning and so he wasn’t receiving a quarterly bill.

“They told us that someone would come out to check the meter and when they arrived, they tried to install a smart meter but it wouldn’t work so they disconnected it again. 

“That was last winter. Since then, another worker came out to give it another go. Once they left, we checked to see if it had all gone through but it still hadn’t been fully installed.”

Ms Murray claims that she has phoned Scottish Power numerous times in the last year on behalf of her brother – with several complaints lodged around a lack of communication. 

Glasgow Times:

She added: “We got back on the phone and an advisor told us that it would take around three days for them to reactivate the account on their end and that they would send us out a meter card for topping 

“That was in November, and we still haven’t had anything come through apart from bills and more texts asking for money. 

“This has been going on since October 2020 and we have been told on numerous occasions it will take a few days for the account to be reactivated before we’re sent a top-up card.

“We’ve had to lodge numerous complaints and we’ve only had around three responses. When we call them to ask for updates, we’re passed onto different departments and it gets confusing.”

The Glasgow Times understands that Mr Cassidy switched accounts to another firm last March, but promptly moved back to Scottish Power. 

Due to an issue with his gas meter details on a national database used by all energy companies, Scottish Power was unable to complete the transfer. 

Glasgow Times:

Now, the family say they will refuse to pay any bills until the issue is resolved.

Ms Murray said: “The bills are racking up but I’m refusing to pay them until they fix the issue. When a Scottish Power workman came out to check the meters, he said that it is definitely a Scottish Power meter, but they are saying it’s not theirs and we can’t get it rectified. 

“The money is sitting there to pay the bills but we want to see his pay-as-you-go meter installed before we hand over the cash. 

“They are quick enough to send the bills and texts threatening to take a credit default against him but they are very slow at fixing the problem.”

Instead of a credit meter – which currently bills Cassidy every three months – a prepayment set-up allows customers to see how much energy they are burning day by day and when they are going to run out. 

Ms Murray said: “All we are asking for is for somebody to activate the meter so my brother knows where he is financially standing day by day.

“It is really stressing him out – we must have called more than 1000 times since October 2020 and it is draining going round in circles.

“The bills are only getting higher and higher and they keep sending texts saying that the bills are overdue. He’s terrified he will be cut off and left with nothing to heat or light his home. It’s causing him to be in a constant panic.”

Scottish Power bosses have since apologised and visited Cassidy to install a new smart meter.  A spokesperson for the company said: “We are sorry for the issues Mr Cassidy is experiencing. 

“He is a Scottish Power electricity customer and we have visited his home recently to install a new smart meter to ensure his bills are accurate and up to date. 

“We are aware of his request to change to a pre-payment meter but following a visit to his property this has been declined due to reasons around health and safety.”

Are you experiencing fuel poverty in Glasgow? - I want to hear from you - ruth.suter@newsquest.co.uk