Isle of Man Energy has been ‘aggressive’ towards its customers during its billing issues, says the chair of the Office of Fair Trading.

John Wannenburgh felt it’s something he’s ‘not comfortable with as champion of the consumers’ in the island.

He made the statement in the House of Keys this morning when asked for an update on progress made with resolving Isle of Man Energy, formerly Manx Gas, customer billing issues.

The OFT has take enforcement action against the gas company, which involves obtaining ‘satisfactory’ written assurance from Isle of Man Energy that it will resolve the problems.

If it refuses, the OFT can refer it to the Attorney General’s chambers.

Mr Wannenburgh said: ‘That is as far as we can go.

‘During the time that it is taking unfortunately, this is my view, the company is exhibiting a pattern of behaviour which at best can be described as aggressive towards their customers and that is not something that I am comfortable with.

‘Notwithstanding that, they must be given a fair chance.

‘When it comes to the end they will have needed to have had every opportunity to resolve those issues.

‘Only difference between now and two weeks ago is we are actively enforcing. It does take time.’

He accepted that a ‘significant percentage’ of complaints had been sorted, but not all.

The chair added: ‘Worryingly, we are still receiving complaints from new complainants. People have been having repeated issues.

‘We have initiated enforcement action.

‘Only Isle of Man Energy can solve billing issues without further undue delay. It is in its own interest to resolve the matters as its customers are clearly and understandably losing faith in the billing system.

‘We are aware of gas customers who are upset and fearful due to concerns about being overdrawn, incurring bank charges and being cut off.

‘The OFT will continue to press Isle of Man Energy into resolving the complaints as quickly as possible.’

Isle of Man Energy has been contacted for a response.