A HIGHLAND MSP has attacked energy giant E.ON after it refused to allow an account holder to log on with a .scot email suffix.

Rob Gibson, SNP member for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament condemning the company’s decision. It said it could not absorb the cost to make the technological changes necessary to accept the email address.

His motion reads: “That the Parliament deplores the reported decision of the energy utility company E.ON to refuse the email address of an account holder who wished to log online with a .scot address; questions E.ON’s reason, that its online accounts system was unable to accept email addresses from the .scot domain; understands that E.ON expects a net income for 2015-16 of €1.4 billion but that it has said that there would be a significant cost and that ‘there is not enough consumer demand for it to be able to absorb the cost’, and encourages large companies that have various strands of business in Scotland to make sure that their customers in Scotland are not discriminated against.”

The case arose after Andy Anderson, a retired former community worker and Highland councillor, criticised the company over its failure to register his email address at andrewanderson.scot to allow him to access his E.ON account.

Anderson, who now lives in Kinross, was involved in a three-month dispute with the firm and took the case to the ombudsman, who backed E.ON.

The ombudsman told him: “The company has informed us that in order to update its online system to accept this domain, there would be a significant cost and at the present time, there is not enough customer demand for it to be able to absorb this cost.

“As this is a commercial decision, it is outside of our remit. Ombudsman Services cannot require action from a company if it regards a commercial decision. We therefore cannot require the company to update its IT systems to accommodate this domain name.”

However, Anderson said he felt he was being discriminated against: “I think they found an easy way out as they quote commercial confidentiality as a reason not to support my case.

“I have replied to the final resolution email stating that I reckon I am being discriminated against as I have a .scot email address.”

Gibson told The National: “We’ve got to keep the pressure up on these people. They are doing other work in Scotland and this is really discriminating against Scottish customers.

“I think the more shame there is in it for them, the better.

“I wouldn’t have thought it would cost too much to allow a computer system to accept .scot addresses, but I’m not too technical in that sense.

“I’m very interested to see that they are so inflexible about customers that it doesn’t matter whether they lose a few because their technical bods can’t adapt their accounts system.”

A company spokesman said they were aware their systems did not yet accommodate some of the newer domain names, but E.ON was looking to accommodate these “in the near future”.

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