An engineer refused to install an electricity meter at a Saltburn couple’s home – after telling them he was not trained to climb step ladders
Householder John Stearn couldn’t believe it when the worker from Utility Warehouse came to change his electricity meter only to cry off because he was not allowed to climb the ladders.
He said he was not trained in the use of ladders and would have to call in specialist colleagues who had gone though a health and safety course.
John said he downed tools and left without lowering the meter.
He said: “You don’t need a training course to be able to use a pair of ladders. You have to laugh at what seems another silly health and safety rule.”
John had asked his supplier to change both his gas and electricity meters to a pre-payment scheme after running up high debts.
The gas meter was changed without any delay because it was at ground level but the electricity meter was placed on the wall above head height.
He said: “We have been customers of Utility Warehouse for a number of years and re-located to our present address in September 2011.
“We paid for our gas and electricity with a monthly plan but admit we never entered our meter readings.
“So when the meter was eventually checked we found ourselves £1700 in arrears.
“After this we had nothing but hassle, resulting in many letters demanding payment.
“My wife Linda is on a pension and I am on Jobseekers Allowance so we are experiencing severe financial difficulty.
“We agreed to have pre-payment meters installed thinking it would be a simple thing to do, but we had this delay over the ladders.”
Jon Goddard, head of distributor marketing at the Utility Warehouse, admitted there had been a health and safety issue over the job at John’s home.
He said: “We had asked the customer on many occasions to submit his own readings to us so we could ensure his bills were accurate, but he chose not to do so.
“Subsequently, we have verified the accuracy of the meters at the customer’s request, and also offered to spread repayment of the deficit over the next 24 months.
“The customer then asked us to install pre-payment meters, and to add the outstanding balance on to them.
“We were able to install a gas pre-payment meter, but the installation of the electricity pre-payment meter has been delayed because the engineer we sent to do this work was unable to climb a ladder to exchange the meter due to health and safety reasons.
“This has now been referred to our specialist metering team, for them to lower the current meter and install a pre-payment meter. With co-operation from the customer, this work should be completed shortly.”
The highly specialised work was later completed.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 09 June 2014