Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you have any serious legal concerns, we would suggest you consult a lawyer.

Small claim court - Self represented - Standard conditions of gas supply licence

(10 Posts)
Jiddle Thu 24-Jan-13 09:02:54

Hi OP. You need to take this matter to the Energy Ombudsman. The other posters are correct in saying that you have no cause of action against the company who wouldn't supply you. It is OFGEM who has the power to take action in respect of that breach of the statutory provisions, if indeed it was a breach. (I am a lawyer. I deal with disputes over energy contracts. )

prh47bridge Thu 24-Jan-13 00:47:39

There is no simple answer to your question. It depends on the statutory instrument. In any case it isn't relevant to your original question - the Gas Supplier Standard License Conditions is not a statutory instrument. It is part of a license granted by Ofgem to the supplier under the Gas Act 1986 as amended by the Utilities Act 2000.

cumfy Wed 23-Jan-13 22:36:03

Thanks for the comments re the Ombudsman.
I had looked at this a while back, and felt from press reports that this for profit company hmm was pretty dire at the service it was providing.
So wished to avoid them.

I am curious about a very general point.

There are hundreds of statutory instruments each with hundreds of rules dealing with a vast range of subjects and subsidiary bodies.

Q How in general does someone obtain legal redress/remedy when these rules have clearly been broken to their disadvantage ?

Dawnporker Tue 15-Jan-13 12:08:21

Try the Ombudsman Service first. They now have carriage of consumer energy disputes.

piebaldpony Sun 13-Jan-13 14:21:17

Comfy, I don't know anything about gas supply regulations but I agree with prh that small claims court is only for claims of money. If you want to attempt to force npower to supply gas you will have to raise an action for specific implement in the Sheriff Court under the relevant rules of court - not the small claims court. I suspect that is likely to be quite expensive.

cumfy Sun 13-Jan-13 13:44:21

Thanks very much for your comments, do you work in the legal profession ?

prh47bridge Sun 13-Jan-13 13:29:43

It doesn't say they have to give reasons.

Take a look at the Gas Act 1986. Enforcement of licenses is clearly a matter for Ofgem. There is no power in that act for individual consumers to enforce the license.

cumfy Sun 13-Jan-13 13:09:21

Yes.
22.6(c) without prejudice to paragraph 13 of Standard Condition 25B it is not reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the licensee to supply gas to the Domestic Premises, provided that, if it is already supplying gas to the premises, it has given at least seven Working Days‟ Notice of its intention to stop doing so;

But they have not given any such reasons or attempted to.
The whole point about their section 22 obligations is that suppliers cannot pick and choose who they supply. This is to avoid cartels.
It is a keystone of a deregulated market.

Thanks in any case for your comments re small claims courts.
Could you link to anything which corroborates your understanding ?

prh47bridge Sun 13-Jan-13 10:12:02

The small claims court deals only with claims for money.

I may be wrong but I don't think you will get anywhere with taking this to the Small Claims Court. My understanding is that the license is part of a contract between the supplier and Ofgem and their liability for breach is therefore to Ofgem, not to you. In any event, there is a useful get out clause for the company which says they do not have to supply if, "it is not reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the licensee to supply gas to the Domestic Premises". A switch can also be refused if you owe money to your current supplier.

If you have exhausted nPower's complaints process I suggest that your next step is to complain to the Ombudsman.

cumfy Sat 12-Jan-13 19:26:01

Very, very, long story short, NPower refused to supply gas to my flat and I am lumbered for over a year with the deemed contract under Scottish Power.
NPower had no valid reason to refuse supply and are obliged to supply if requested under the Standard conditions of gas supply licence:

22.2 Within a reasonable period of time after receiving a request from a Domestic Customer for a supply of gas to Domestic Premises, the licensee must offer to enter into a Domestic Supply Contract with that customer.
22.3 If the Domestic Customer accepts the terms of the Domestic Supply Contract offered to him under paragraph 22.2, the licensee must supply gas in accordance with that contract.

I am about to got to small claims but want to know precisely what I should be asking for, legally speaking.

Will the judge in a small claims court (Scottish sherrif) have sufficient jurisdiction to "force" NPower to honour their obligations under Standard conditions of gas supply licence ?

Should I be asking (1) simply for compensation or is it appropriate to ask the court to (2) oblige NPower to not breach its Section 22 conditions ?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now