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Scottish Power failed customers

26 April 2016

Today Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, announced the results of its investigations into Scottish Power and found the firm’s billing, complaint resolution and call handling to be inadequate.  As a result the energy company will pay out £18 million.

Consumer champion Citizens Advice, which provided evidence to the Ofgem investigation, said the company had failed its customers.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Scottish Power failed its customers not once but twice.

“Not only did the firm struggle to get people’s bills right first time, it also failed to sort out the problems when customers tried to complain.      

“Providing someone with an accurate, timely bill which reflects how much gas or electricity they have used is a fundamental part of running an energy firm.  But time and time again we’re seeing big companies introduce new billing systems which leave customers in limbo - with the wrong bill and no way to sort it out.

“Ofgem is right to hand Scottish Power such a large fine and we expect the company to do everything it can to make sure vulnerable customers get the compensation they deserve after receiving such poor service.  We also need the industry to start learning the lessons from issues which have caused such misery for consumers.”

Scottish Power customers turned to Citizens Advice for help when the firm failed to provide a bill, sent a bill for the wrong amount and, in some cases, started debt collection practices for a bill that didn’t exist or was being paid.

The problems with Scottish Power’s billing issues were reflected in Citizens Advice energy complaints league table - which ranks firms on how good they are at dealing with complaints.  Its poor performance put it at the bottom of the league table on numerous occasions and at one point the firm had 1,163 complaints per 100,000 customers.

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, 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.
  2. 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.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. 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.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.