For immediate release:
MSP BIDS TO STOP BIG COMPANIES EXPLOITING ENERGY EFFICIENCY CONSUMERS
Blantyre MSP Clare Haughey has registered a new Cross-Party Group (CPG) in the Scottish Parliament that aims to protect consumers of energy efficiency and renewables’ products.
CPGs give MSPs, outside organisations, and members of the public the chance to meet and discuss a shared interest in a particular cause or subject. Holyrood’s Standards Committee approved the new CPG last week (16th November). The idea for this group came about following ongoing issues with the UK Government’s Green Deal initiative that affected hundreds of energy efficiency consumers throughout Scotland, including in Clare Haughey’s Rutherglen constituency.
Businesses such as Cambuslang-based HELMS sold householders solar panels on the promise of reduced energy bills and other benefits, but in fact bills have in some cases tripled and saddled customers with years of debt.
Ms Haughey has held several public meetings regarding this issue and helped launch the Blantyre HELMS Action Group. So far, more than 45 households in Blantyre and upwards of 20 in Hamilton have contacted her office looking for assistance with alleged mis-selling of solar panels.
Clare Haughey MSP said:
“The UK Government’s Green Deal has left some of my constituents in dire financial straits after they were allegedly mis-sold energy efficiency products by HELMS.
“This now liquidated company has already been fined for making millions of nuisance calls and for breaching the Green Deal’s code of conduct; however, the UK Government must also support those people that have been left in debt after signing up to the scheme.
“Some of my constituents involved in the scheme have had difficulties selling their homes because their debt, resulting from alleged mis-selling of energy efficiency products, is tied to the property. As a result, I have launched a new CPG in the Scottish Parliament to protect energy efficiency and renewable energy consumers and restore their confidence to “go green” in the future.
“I’ve worked closely with many elected representatives, groups, and organisations – in particular with the Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau who have been excellent in representing those affected from Hamilton and Blantyre – and we are all fighting to ensure what happened to my constituents doesn’t happen again.”
The CPG has already been signed up to by Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau, Citizens Advice Scotland, Scottish Gas and Centrica, Scottish Power, Energy Action Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust, SSE, and the energy efficiency company Wetherby.
Below is a photograph of Clare Haughey MSP outside a home with solar panels in Blantyre.
Clare Haughey MSP – Scottish National Party (proposed Convener)
Ivan McKee MSP – Scottish National Party (proposed Deputy Convener)
Christina McKelvie – Scottish National Party
Ross Greer MSP – Scottish Green Party
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP – Scottish Liberal Democrats
Further information regarding the first CPG meeting will be released in due course.
Date published: 21st November 2017