Scottish Power was today ordered to pay £18m for failing to treat customers fairly. Energy regulator Ofgem issued the fine after more than one million complaints were made between June 2013 and December 2015.
Scottish Power was criticised for unacceptably long call waiting times. Many customers tried to get through several times, before hanging up without success.
More than 300,000 customers also received late final bills, which meant some experienced delays in receiving the money they were owed. Other complaints were poorly dealt with and took too long to resolve.
Scottish Power blames the problems on a new IT system. Ofgem says Scottish Power has worked to improve its customer service since its investigation started.
Fed up with Scottish Power – or any other energy supplier – and ready to look elsewhere? Head to our independent comparison website Which? Switch.
Best and worst energy companies
Every year we reveal the best energy firms based on customer feedback. The most recent results (published September 2015) confirm that there’s room for Scottish Power to improve. We found customer service, and the way it deals with complaints, to be poor. Of the 22 companies we rated, it was the second worst overall with a customer score of 44%.
Ovo Energy came out on top with a score of 82%, while several of the other smaller suppliers impressed us too. None of the big six energy suppliers – British gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power – were able to crack the top ten in our survey, and one of them performed even worse than Scottish Power.
ind out which one it was, and read more about our Which? Recommended Provider, in our review of the best and worst energy companies.
Recent Ofgem energy fines
The £18m fine is one of the largest that Ofgem has ever issued. Most of the money will got to vulnerable customers affected by the problems, with the rest going to charity.
But Scottish Power is not the first energy supplier to be hit with a huge fine in recent years. In December 2015 Ofgem ordered Npower to pay a record £26m for failing its customers. Between September 2013 and December 2014, the energy giant received over two million complaints, with more than 500,000 people getting late or inaccurate bills.
Eon also had to pay £7.75m to Citizens Advice last year after an Ofgem investigation found that it overcharged customers who chose to leave as a result of recent price rises.
Other big six energy firms, including SSE and EDF Energy, have fallen foul of Ofgem too. We’re calling on the Competition and Markets authority to fix the broken energy market. Over 400,000 people have signed our petition so far – if you would like to get involved please join the campaign for Fair Energy Prices.