I’m disabled and SSE Energy left me without central heating for a year


I am disabled and have had no central heating this winter because I’ve been waiting for more than a year for SSE Energy to change my metering system so I can move to a gas and electricity tariff.

When we moved into our house we inherited an all-electric “total heating, total control” (THTC) system with two meters (one for day-to-day electricity and the other for heating and hot water) which dates back to Scottish Hydro-Electric.

The heating meter is designed to work with night storage heaters and is controlled via radio signal from somewhere in the Highlands.

Due to my disability, I can get new central heating installed for free. But this cannot happen – and I cannot even move suppliers – until the heating meter is removed and a new gas one fitted.

Our radiators were removed last year in readiness for the upgrade so this winter we have had to use fan heaters and oil radiators which are expensive to run.

SSE has either ignored my emails or told me it will be done when “it can manage”. Finally, I was advised me to contact the Energy Ombudsman.

The ombudsman found in my favour but the decision was that SSE fit the meter “when they can”, plus £100 compensation. I declined this offer because it did not improve my situation. Can you help?

JG, Comrie

THTC is an old Scottish Hydro-Electric tariff that has not been offered to new customers for many years. It could only be supplied by the company because it controlled the radio signal and because it is unique in having had two, rather than one, Meter Point Administration Numbers (Mpans).

Following the merger of Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electric to form SSE this remained the case and continued to be so after the sale of its retail arm to Ovo in 2020.

The good news is that, with our help, your meters have finally been sorted out and you are over the moon. The process has taken so long that the central heating scheme has ended but you think it will be possible to benefit from another government programme.

Ovo says: “We are sincerely sorry to JG for the time taken to replace his meter. His meter has been changed and a goodwill gesture will be offered for the shortfalls in service.”

You have also been added to Ovo’s priority services register and advised how to apply for the government’s warm home discount scheme.

This article was amended on 20 February 2023 to clarify that Ovo acquired only SSE’s retail arm in 2020

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at [email protected] or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

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