Tenants of properties in Stoke on Trent have accused a solar panel company of mis-selling by making Erroneous Transfers. The company worked with the City Council offering free panels with reductions in the cost of electricity and gas bills for 6,000 homes. Each home also received £100.
Stoke-on-Trent was one of the first local authorities to take part in the Community Energy Scheme, where social housing landlords, social housing tenants and a private energy supplier work together. The idea is to make social housing stock more energy efficient through the installation of solar panels, energy storage units, smart meters and LED technology.
The installation company, Solarplicity Energy and Supply, ceased trading in August 2019. Ofgem and the Energy Ombudsman received over 3,000 complaints about the company’s service, billing and switching.
Tenants claim that they were unaware that the length of their contract would be 25 years and complained that their digital signature was unknowingly copied onto contracts after they agreed to a survey. The Energy Ombudsman describes such a actions as “erroneous transfers”, along with fraud.
One woman discovered the length of her contract when she tried to change to another supplier but was prevented from doing so, although Solarplicity said she could move home without taking the contract with her.
Other firms within the Solarplicity Group are still operating but the group has been renamed Peerglow Group. EDF now supplies energy services to the 7,500 domestic customers affected by the firm’s closure.
Stoke on Trent City Council said it was working to resolve the issues of some tenants and is now considering the recommendations of a recent council meeting.
If you’re buying property in Stoke on Trent, or anywhere else in England or Wales, ask a Chartered Surveyor for a building survey.