Scottish Power most complained about energy company

Scottish Power is the most complained about energy supplier in Britain, the latest figures from Citizens Advice reveal.

The national charity and consumer advocate has released its latest quarterly complaints league table, which reveals:

  • There were 1,163 complaints about Scottish Power per 100,000 customers in the last quarter of 2014: the latest period for which data is available.

  • This is the highest number of complaints ever recorded about one energy firm.

  • Complaints about Scottish Power increased 588% throughout 2014.

The new figures also show that SSE retained top spot as the least complained about company. In the last quarter, the number of complaints about SSE, British Gas, EDF Energy and npower decreased. Npower has made improvements, but is still performing poorly relative to most other firms, with more than five times as many complaints as the next worst company.

Complaints about Scottish Power are due to its new billing system, which meant some people didn’t receive a bill and others struggled to have their problems resolved.

Scottish Power was banned from selling energy for 12 days in March 2015 after failing to meet Ofgem targets for resolving customer complaints. The investigation behind the ban found that the firm had not made necessary customer service improvements to respond to complaints.

Citizens Advice has worked with Scottish Power to help resolve the problems its customers are experiencing. As a result it has now taken steps to deal with its backlog of complaints. These include hiring new customer service staff, extending call centre hours, and setting up a special phone line for vulnerable customers.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“New billing systems are routinely failing energy customers. In the last few years, four of the largest firms have introduced new billing systems, and their implementation has caused chaos for consumers.

“Thousands of customers have been hit by delayed and incorrect bills which have resulted in extreme frustration and significant debts.

 "It’s encouraging that npower is now turning the corner, but Scottish Power still has a very long way to go.

“We have negotiated with Scottish Power to ensure customers affected by its problems get a fair deal. We will keep working with the supplier to make sure the billing and customer service problems are resolved.”

Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Margaret Lynch said:

"Trust in the energy market is at rock bottom among consumers in Scotland, so it’s really disappointing to see that certain suppliers are underperforming.

We saw a staggering increase in the number of Scottish Power issues brought to the Citizens Advice service last year. The league table reveals that complaints to the supplier increased almost 6 fold in 2014, this highlights a truly shocking level of customer service.

Anyone who needs advice on issues with their energy supplier can contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau or to call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.

Npower had been the most complained about of the Big Six for the first two quarters of 2014, but were overtaken in the final half of the year by Scottish Power.

In the latest energy complaints table below the best performing supplier (for Quarter 4, 2014) is at the top and the worst is at the bottom.

Complaints about Energy suppliers per 100,000 customers:

Table showing energy supplier complaints ranking for 2014
Jan - Mar 2014 April - Jun 2014 July - Sept 2014 Oct - Dec -2014


Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014


British Gas

Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014


EDF Energy

Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014



Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014



Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014


Scottish Power

Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014



Jan - Mar 2014


April - Jun 2014


July - Sept 2014


Oct - Dec -2014


 Tips for energy customers

  • Complain to your energy supplier as soon as you experience a problem.

  • If you have not received a bill but are expecting one, try to put money aside so you are able to pay when you do eventually get the bill.

  • Energy companies are only allowed to back bill for energy you used in the last 12 months, anything older than that should be written-off where the supplier is at fault.  

  • Ask for some sort of compensation for the time you spent on trying to sort out problems and the financial impact of late billing for example reduce the balance of the bill and cover the cost of phone calls.  

  • Npower customers who have received a late bill can contact the supplier on 0800 9759065

  • Scottish Power has increased the opening hours of its call centre to 10pm to help deal with customer queries.  

  • Suppliers must take into account ability to pay when setting debt repayment levels.  

  • You can get advice from the Citizens Advice energy consumer line on 03454 04 05 06.

  • If you are struggling to resolve your complaint you can raise it with the energy ombudsman on 0330 440 1624.



Notes to editors

  1. Data is weighted ratio per 100,000 customers.  Weightings have been allocated to reflect the seriousness of the complaint and the time and effort spent by the consumer to get their problem resolved. The weightings in the model place greater emphasis on situations where the consumer has had to repeatedly contact their supplier, or another agency, because the company has failed to deal with their problem. The measures used in the model are outlined in the  methodology .

  2. Citizens Advice now holds Consumer Futures a statutory duty to provide information to consumers. The performance model to accurately illustrate relative energy company performance which will give consumers access to the information they need to make informed switching decisions. We believe it is essential that the performance model reflects all elements of the new complaint handling regime and uses a basket of measures including those from independent bodies.

  3. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the  Citizens Advice website .

  4. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website .

  5. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

  6. To get advice online or find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit .

  7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers

  8. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication  Advice trends