Households in Whalsay and Yell have been left without power during sub-zero temperatures, with some residents claiming to have been “fobbed off” by an energy company.
A number of households had reported having no power after their prepay customer keys stopped working.
Among the residents affected in Yell was Amber Halcrow, who said OVo Energy had been “unhelpful” when she contacted them for advice.
“We didn’t actually run out, but we were coming close to it.
“I went to the shop a couple of weeks ago and they said to me as of the 1st December we’d be getting new keys, but they seemed to imply we’d get them through the post.
“But I haven’t heard of anybody getting a new one and the wife I spoke to at OVO was pretty hopeless, she didn’t know anything,” she said.
Miss Halcrow tried topping up her card at Henderson’s and Aywick to no avail before contacting Sound Service Station in Lerwick for help.
She added that she happened to be going to Lerwick on the Monday anyway to watch the pantomime, or her power “would’ve been off by now” and there’s been “no letters or information from OVO at all”.
Michelle Sandison said her partner had to go off Whalsay to top up her 76-year old great uncle’s card after he also received no warning from OVO.
“James spent two hours on the phone trying to get a solution from OVO.
“They were certain that letters and replacement keys had been sent out, but Uncle Johnny definitely didn’t receive any.
“They gave James a code which could be used to update the key, but he had to take it to Brae because that’s the closest place with a machine that could update the key,” she said.
Miss Sandison said they were still unsure whether the key will work after other residents in Whalsay who went for top ups could not get their keys to work.
“Uncle Johnny is now down to less than £5 electricity and he’s getting rather stressed out as you can imagine,” she added.
North Isles councillor Ryan Thomson criticised OVO Energy over their handling of the situation.
“It seems to be a fob off issue, whoever they’re speaking to on the phone seems to be saying there’s an issue with one outlet or the key,” he said yesterday evening (Wednesday).
“That’s simply not the case, they’ve been able to go to another outlet on the mainland and get a top up there.
“It’s really drastic for folk with top up keys in the heart of December where it’s -6 degrees.
“And if they’re not showing any interest whatsoever in trying to resolve the situation and kicking the can down the road, then it’s seriously negligent behaviour,” he said.
OVO Energy said in a statement to The Shetland Times: “We’re sorry to hear that some residents have been having issues.
“Replacement keys were sent out at the beginning of November which will work at Post Office locations.
“Customers can contact us to have their keys reprogrammed so that it works at any outlet, or we can arrange for a replacement OVO key to be sent out immediately.”