Local News

Delay in Installing Meters Continues to Affect Housebuilding

The Scottish Government will be pursuing the issue of the continued delay in installing meters in new-build properties.

Housebuilding in Orkney and in other rural and island communities has come to a standstill because energy companies will not install meters in the new properties.

Orkney Constituency MSP, Liam McArthur, LibDem, questioned Shona Robison, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 6th of September.

Liam McArthur asked if Shona Robison would “liaise with her cabinet secretary colleague Michael Matheson on making representations to the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets about how that market failure might be addressed, not least through the lifting of the ban on distribution network operators fitting meters while they install the supply in new properties in island communities?”

In her reply Shona Robinson said:

“that issue affects the ability to get new builds ready for occupation not only in Orkney and the islands, but in other areas, which is very frustrating. I will be happy to speak to colleagues and to come back to Mr McArthur. It is important that we raise such matters as frequently as we can to ensure that progress is made so that the supply of affordable housing is not held up.”

Liam McArthur welcomed the response from Shona Robinson. Commenting after he said:

“While Ofgem has acknowledged the problem, and even suggested a possible compromise, this has not yet led to a resolution. As a result, commercial and private housebuilding in Orkney continues to stall. Given that demand for housing in our islands far outstrips supply, the need to find a solution could scarcely be more urgent.

“I have proposed that the ban on distribution network operators installing meters whilst connecting supplies could be a solution in the islands. This would seem to be in everyone’s interests and be a far more efficient way of operating in places like Orkney. To date, however, Ofgem has refused to accept this idea.”