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Big Six reviews

Scottish Power

By Sarah Ingrams

Article 5 of 6

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Scottish Power

Scottish Power is owned by Spanish energy firm Iberdrola. Scottish Power supplies energy to more than 5m homes and businesses in the UK – should you switch so it supplies yours?

Scottish Power generates its own electricity, largely through renewable sources. Over the last couple of years it has closed its coal-fired power stations and sold off its gas plants.  

Now it says its focus will be on wind energy. Scottish Power is already the largest producer of it in the UK, generating more than 1,600MW. Iberdrola Group operates four offshore wind sites, plus more than 30 onshore wind farms across the UK. It says it’s leading the UK in developing electricity generation from onshore wind.

Is Scottish Power cheaper than your current energy deal? Use Which? Switch to compare gas and electricity prices.

Scottish Power customer score

Scottish Power came joint 28th in our survey of 30 British energy companies’ customers, as rated by 7,429 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. It shares its position with Npower.

Together, Scottish Power and Npower are the lowest-ranked of the Big Six companies in our energy customer survey. They’re not at the bottom of the table however; two smaller firms ranked lower.

Scottish Power score breakdown

The graphic below shows the breakdown of its score from our latest survey.

Scroll down to find out how Scottish Power fares on complaints handling, how quickly it responds to customers and what customers think of its prices.

Find out how Scottish Power compares with other energy companies – click to see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.

Which? verdict on Scottish Power

This is the first time that Scottish Power has not ranked above Npower in our annual energy companies survey.

Scottish Power’s customers rate its bills, online customer service and value for money as fair. These are the highlights; it scored poorly for phone customer service, complaints handling and helping customers understand and reduce their energy use.

Customers weren’t particularly positive about its value for money, either. Perhaps partly because its standard tariff became the priciest of the Big Six firms’ standard tariffs for much of 2018. 

Scottish Power sells several fixed deals which include a donation to Cancer Research UK, as well as online-only tariffs and an electric vehicle tariff which is backed by 100% renewable electricity. You must have an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle registered at your supply address to qualify.

Scottish Power customer service

Overall, a fifth of Scottish Power’s customers said it was poor or very poor at handling complaints. It wasn’t the worst company for this, however. Lowest-scoring Solarplicity had three quarters of its customers find it poor or very poor at dealing with complaints. This is an exception though; the best companies have less than 5% of customers ranking them poorly for complaints-handling.

Scottish Power also had higher levels of complaints per 1,000 customers than the rest of the Big Six in the first half of 2018.

But in our snapshot investigation into how long energy companies keep customers waiting, for the third year running Scottish Power was the fastest of the Big Six to pick up the phone. Customers had to wait just 3 minutes 29 seconds on average. 

This is much slower than non-Big-Six firm Affect Energy (10 seconds) but a fraction of the 27 minute-plus average wait with Spark Energy.

It was also the fastest to respond to live chat messages in our snapshot investigation, taking just 10 seconds on average.

Pros: Fastest to respond on live chat in our snapshot investigation

Cons: Received more complaints than the rest of the Big Six

Scottish Power electricity sources

Scottish Power energy prices

The graph above shows how Scottish Power’s variable (also known as standard) tariff, its priciest tariff and its cheapest tariff compared with the cheapest tariff on the market over the last two years. 

If you were a Scottish Power customer and on its variable tariff, you could have saved a lot of money if you’d switched to a cheaper energy deal, especially one with a different supplier. Often, Scottish Power has sold a tariff pricier than its standard deal so check carefully if you’re considering fixing your prices for a long period.

See how much money you can save on your energy bills. Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.

Scottish Power in the news

February: Scottish Power announced a 10% price rise for the 900,000 customers on its standard variable tariffs from 1 April.

Customers will pay £117 more per year, based on a medium energy user. The new price will be the maximum that energy firms are permitted to charge from 1 April when the price cap increases.

Customers with prepayment meters will also pay £106 more per year.

September: Scottish Power is being examined by the regulator for how it handles customer complaints, Ofgem revealed.

June: Scottish Power customers on its standard variable tariff saw their bills increase by 5.5% on average. It blamed higher wholesale costs, the cost of upgrading meters and delivering electricity from low-carbon sources.

February: Around 200,000 customers left Scottish Power in 2017, the firm announced, leaving it with around 5.1 million customers. It also announced a 50% drop in earnings for its generation and supply business.

October: Scottish Power said that from next year it will stop rolling customers onto standard tariffs when their fixed deals end. Instead, customers will be offered new fixed-rate energy tariffs.

September: Scottish Power came 93rd in a Which? survey of the 100 best and worst big brands for customer service, with a customer service score of 68%.

March: Scottish Power increased the price of its variable tariff  by 7.8% affecting around 1.1 million customers. It blamed rising wholesale costs, the cost of decarbonising electricity generation and installing smart meters.