MEMBERS of Scotland’s tenants’ union Living Rent have staged a demonstration outside ScottishPower’s Glasgow headquarters over one of their members being hounded by debt collectors for the cost of electricity she did not use.

The woman, a Living Rent member known as Irene, was living in a flat in the Broomhill area of Glasgow, but moved four months ago. However, she is being chased for an alleged debt of £1500 – a figure campaigners say has changed several times following visits from debt collection agencies.

Irene is on ScottishPower’s Priority Services Register for vulnerable customers, but claimed the company had consistently failed to provide adequate support. Her social worker had previously tried to help resolve the matter, but was not able to get clear answers from the energy giant.

One agency contacted her to say they would be visiting her at her new home and she had to miss her appointment for a booster Covid-19 vaccine on that day, although an agent did not turn up.

The union said it wanted the “harassment” to end, and her “false debt” to be cancelled.

The National: Scottish Power protest.

A Living Rent spokesperson told The National: “Irene has been charged around £1500 in electricity bills in a property that she had recently left. This is despite having provided proof that she had not used this electricity.

“These charges and harassment by Scottish Power come in the midst of a national energy crisis.

“Tenants around the country are facing possible fuel poverty this winter – with energy prices rising by 12% for 15 million households in October, with a high likelihood of further price rises in spring.”

They said power giants’ charging for energy that had not been used was not an isolated occurrence and some of the victims were not even customers of ScottishPower – one of the Big Six energy firms.

The spokesperson added: “Living Rent hopes Scottish Power will correct their mistake and avoid causing other tenants this stress in the future.”

Irene said: “I have felt degraded, deserted and totally baffled by Scottish Power’s behaviour.

“They have fed me false information and lies about a debt that I do not owe.

“I am a single person who has been shielding in Glasgow for nearly two years. I didn’t have hot running water and gas central heating for eight years. I had to order meals in and spend over the odds on food, and had to wash and bathe at friends’ houses.”

She said the energy company had been harassing her with countless phone calls, emails, messages and threatening letters claiming she owed them “vast” sums.

A ScottishPower spokesperson said: “We always respect peoples’ right to protest. We are working with the Energy Ombudsman to review the customer’s case and hope to reach a resolution over the next few weeks.”