Scottish Gas will rip out parts of heating systems in more than 150 homes in the north – because some of the radiators are too small.
Highland Council tenants described being left in the cold or forced to pay over the odds to heat their properties – despite having new heating installed just a few years ago.
And now, several streets in one part of Inverness face the disruption of engineers descending on their homes to rectify the problem.
The replacement work is scheduled to start at the end of April and will be fully funded by Scottish Gas.
Scores of families in the South Kessock area of Inverness have had to put up with the problem.
Among them is mother-of-three Lisa Ross, of Kessock Road, who has been paying £50 a week to keep the family home warm.
She said: “At the moment, I’m having to have the radiators on all day – because it’s winter – which is obviously costing a fortune.
“As soon as the heating goes off the house is freezing because the heaters just aren’t big enough to warm the rooms.
“I’ve been waiting months to hear back. I’ve been complaining about the heating since I moved in a couple of years ago.
“They called before Christmas and said they were going to put double radiators in the bedrooms and make my living room one bigger but I’m yet to hear from them again.
“When they came out and surveyed it, they said the radiators were too small.”
In many homes, it is just one radiator that needs replaced.
Miss Ross, a 27-year-old care worker, said she was currently stumping up more than £50 a week on pay-as-you go gas card payments. She is hopeful the costs will tumble once more efficient radiators are installed at her home on the water’s edge.
She defended the council, saying its staff had responded quickly, at a weekend, when a thermostat fault was reported.
It is understood the radiators issue originally surfaced about two years ago and a survey of 300 homes followed, late last year.
According to a local councillor, access to some of the homes appeared to have delayed the process because of tenants being out at work.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Scottish Gas were contracted to carry out gas heating replacements in South Kessock several years ago.
“Following inspection of houses by the council it was identified that the radiators in some of the houses were smaller than had been specified in the contract documents.”
She confirmed that tenants at a total of 226 homes were surveyed by Scottish Gas last autumn and that the company was committed to contacting people at all of the affected households.
The council also confirmed that 157 homes need replacement radiators and that, in most cases, a single radiator replacement is required.
The spokeswoman added: “Scottish Gas intend to be on site in late April and relevant council tenants will be notified accordingly.”
The total cost of the work is not known.
The council’s head of housing David Goldie claimed the impact on individuals’ heating bills would be “minimal.”
He added: “The heating will still be more cost-efficient than the previous systems that were replaced.”
Catrin Millar of Scottish Gas said: “We’ve been working closely with the council to investigate problems with some radiators in residents’ homes in South Kessock.
“We remain fully committed to working with the council on this matter.”
It was not clear when the replacement work will be completed.