Monday, October 02, 2017


A decade ago, I had a bit of an issue with Scottish Gas, who messed up my gas bill and gave me a massive runaround trying to get it sorted. I was not best pleased and promptly decided never to give them my custom again. And so, when I bought the flat, it was with no small pleasure that I contacted one of their rivals to set up my account.

But a decade has passed since then, and in particular it was a decade where I had had occasion to make use of some of Scottish Gas' other services, notably their one-off boiler repair. And, having been pleased with that service, I removed them from my "never deal with these people" list.

Guess where this is going!

After signing up to receive gas and electricity from Scottish Gas, I was encouraged to sign up to have a Smart Meter installed. Which was a nice reminder and generally a good thing. And so I promptly did exactly that. That appointment was booked for today.

Being at work, I arranged for my father to house-sit today. Which isn't ideal, of course, since it's a big hassle for him, but it's a necessary consequence of having to work full-time. And so I came to work and waited for some indication that they were on their way...

After lunch, I decided to check the status of the appointment online, only to be met with a note that our boiler isn't suitable for a Smart Meter - they'd be in touch. Uh-oh...

So, I spent several minutes hunting down a way to actually contact them (which wasn't easy), and made the call.

And it turned out that their automated system can't accept bookings to install a Smart Meter within a month of a change of supplier. So it automatically cancelled the appointment and didn't deign to inform me.

I find myself at something of a loss as to how exactly to categorise this new level of incompetence. Is it where the system encourages you to book an appointment before they're able to accept the appointment? Is it that the system cancels the appointment without telling you? Or perhaps it lies in hiding the customer support numbers that you need in order to get any actual, usable information about this?

Incidentally, the automated switchboard informed me that Scottish Gas might call me back to get feedback on my experience today. If that does indeed happen, it will make for a very interesting conversation...

(It's worth noting, of course, that I'm not at all convinced the competition are any better. As far as I can tell, they're all pretty much equivalently shit. Something to do with them all providing the same gas/electricity via the same pipes/wires, and so meaningful competition being essentially impossible.)

#44: "Anne of Green Gables", by L. M. Montgomery (a book from The List)


Kezzie said...

I HATE Scottish gas! They are our suppliers and are incompetent nincompoops who totally screwed me over our switchover to them from British Gas when we moved here. Basically, they 'read the meter' (er, no, you didn't!) and supplied readings to British Gas that said we had used £300 worth of electricity in 2 months so that's what we owed British Gas, I phoned up with the correct reading which was a month after the bill from British gas which STILL wasn't up to the number they had given British Gas and was lied to, put on hold, hung up on, made to wait on the phone for an hour and then it turned out that they didn't do anything so I had letters from a debt collection agency since we 'hadn't paid it' and I phoned several times and the same process happened about 5 times with increasingly scary letters from the debt collection agency! The utter scumbags!
If I didn't fear them doing the same if we changed supplier, I would have done it long ago!

Steph/ven said...

Wow. You've had it even worse than I did. (Though I'm a little confused - I'm reasonably sure Scottish Gas is British Gas, just with local branding.)

Unfortunately, two of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given are (1) never trust a supplier to take a reading - always do it yourself, and (2) take photographs of your meters so you have solid evidence of the readings.

We shouldn't have to go through steps like that just to get... barely adequate service (I was about to say 'good', then 'decent', but it doesn't even qualify for those). But it does seem like we do.

I hope you get that issue sorted out soon, if you haven't done so already.