18 from 'vulnerable' customers
More than 300 complaints about gas billing issues have been sent to the Office of Fair Trading since April.
Eighteen have been from customers identified as being ‘vulnerable’.
The OFT acknowledges this is a subjective rating and says it bases its judgement on vulnerability on telephone conversations, home visits and information from concerned relatives or MHKs.
The information has been revealed after Douglas South MHK Sarah Maltby tabled a Tynwald question for the chairman John Wannenburgh.
He told her most, if not all, of the 18 complainants were ‘distressed and confused’ as they had not received some of, or in rare cases, any of their gas bills and/or were unable to understand them.
This, the OFT says, means a few of them may actually have been able to pay their bills once they received or understood them.
Mr Wannenburgh said the majority of complaints from the ‘vulnerable’ were due to their concern at how much they might owe or from those who were ‘plainly struggling’ to pay what they did owe.
He adds that the OFT prioritises complaints from these customers and will undertake home visits in many cases and actively engage with Isle of Man Energy to resolve issues.
Of the 300 plus issues there were 10 relating to customers either having their gas supply cut off or being told they’d be cut off if they didn’t pay what was owed.
Only one of the 10 was recorded as being 'vulnerable' and their service had not been disconnected; the OFT says it’s been advised this complaint has now been resolved.
The OFT adds, as far as it is aware, Isle of Man Energy does not apply charges to customer accounts as a result of late payments.