My dementia-suffering dad, 90, was forced to freeze in winter without heating after being wrongly hit with £2,000 bill

A PENSIONER was left freezing after he was forced to turn off his heating during the winter because he was wrongly hit by a £2k energy bill. 

Michael Hanley, 90, had to sit in the cold as his family battled with Scottish Power to get his electricity meter replaced in a row that rumbled on for more than two years. 

The grandad, from Port Glasgow, Scotland, first told the energy supplier about the issue in August 2019 after his daughter spotted the device wasn't recording any data. 

In total the family booked six different appointments to have the issue fixed, but engineers failed to show up to any of them. 

Mr Hanley’s furious family took the case to the Energy Ombudsman in 2021 after having their repeated calls for help ignored.

He eventually had a new meter installed earlier this year, but was hit with an arrears bill of more than £2,000 despite making payments throughout the issues. 


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Maria Houston, 57,  claims her elderly dad received repeated calls from Scottish Power asking him for the money.

She told the Daily Record: “It’s left my dad in such a state over it.

“He’s really upset, especially with his dementia. I would say this whole thing has actually made his health deteriorate.

“Last winter, my dad sat in quite a lot without his heating off because he was scared the bill was going to get too high.

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“I was constantly calling Scottish Power. One girl told me she couldn’t understand my accent and put the phone down on me. Others promised to call back but I’m still waiting.

“I was then given a complaints adviser who I told not to call my dad because of his dementia. “My name’s on the account as well so I told them they should contact me.

“But my dad kept getting phone calls telling him his account was in arrears and he had to pay up.

“I ended up making small payments because I didn’t want the bill to get too expensive for him to pay. They were saying he owed over £2000.

“In September 2021, I contacted the Energy Ombudsman which I thought would get it fixed – but obviously it didn’t.

“I then got a new complaints adviser who I spoke to on the 18th of March, 2021. He actually hung up on me as well.

“He said it was a problem with his network. But he never rang me back. They told me they would call me again on the 28th of April last year but I’m still waiting.”

His daughter had informed the energy company that she was the point of contact rather than the grandad of thirteen, but they continued to contact him. 

The family were horrified by the amount of arrears Scottish Power claims that the account was in. 

Maria added: “After the new meter got installed, we thought that everything was now all sorted and we could start sorting out the payments and any arrears.

“We were then told that the direct debit would be £250 a month because there was an outstanding balance of more than £2000.

“When I questioned how they could know the cost of the arrears because there were no meter readings recorded, they said they would get back to me. I’m still waiting.”

Scottish Power have now launched an investigation into Michales account,a nd have wiped the grandad;s debt. 

A spokesman for Scottish Power said: “We’re very sorry for the billing and customer service issues experienced by Mr Hanley and his family over the last couple of years, which stem from the faulty metre that was in place between April 2019 and December 2021.

"We’ve also been working to recalculate the billing to ensure that Mr Hanley is not charged for any energy usage during the April 2019-December 2021 period when we did not have accurate meter readings.

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"This has resulted in a credit balance of more than £1,500, which will be refunded to Mr Hanley.

"We appreciate this has taken much longer to resolve than anyone would have liked and apologise for the distress and inconvenience caused.”

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