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21 October 2021

Scottish Power

Scottish Power, owned by Spanish energy firm Iberdrola, supplies gas and electricity to more than five million homes and businesses in the UK. Should you switch so it supplies yours?
Sarah Ingrams
Scottish power big six 480407

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

It now claims it's the first big company to generate only renewable electricity. Before that Scottish Power was already the largest producer of wind energy in the UK. Iberdrola Group operates over 40 wind farms across the UK, which produce over 2,500MW. 

In December 2020, Scottish Power launched a new company to produce 'green' hydrogen by using energy from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels. It expects to make a significant contribution towards the government's goal of producing 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030. It can be used as fuel for industry and transport.

In took on the customers of failed suppliers Tonik Energy and Yorkshire Energy in 2020 when they ceased trading.

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Scottish Power customer score

Scottish Power came 24th out of 25 British energy companies, as rated by 7,460 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey.

Scottish Power is the second-lowest ranked of the big traditional energy companies. Only Npower finished with a lower score. This is the closest to the bottom of the table that Scottish Power has ever finished in our survey.

The times I have spoken to them they were not helpful.

Scottish Power customer

High prices compared with others.

Scottish Power customer

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 – head to the full results of the best and worst energy companies.

Which? verdict on Scottish Power

Last year Scottish Power ranked lowest of the big energy companies, but this time it isn't quite at the bottom.

Scottish Power’s customers rate the clarity of its bills, customer service and complaints handling as poor and its value for money as very poor. The only aspect for which it scored better was bill accuracy, earning a 'fair' rating based on customers’ feedback.

Official data from energy regulator Ofgem shows that it tied with British Gas in solving a lower percentage of complaints within two days than any of its other big rivals in the first half of 2020.

It resolved 48% of complaints in two days during this period. The best companies manage 90% or more - but the poorest performing firm, Sainsbury's Energy, managed just 18%.

It sells numerous fixed deals, including some that give a donation to Cancer Research UK, as well as online-only tariffs. Some have exit fees of £30 per fuel.

Its electric vehicle tariff has lower rates overnight to charge your car. You must have an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle registered at your supply address to qualify.

Some customers are willing to put up with less good customer service for the right price. But Scottish Power is poor value for money, according to customers in our survey.

On the plus side, Scottish Power has shown big improvements in its call waiting times since 2019, according to our latest snapshot investigation into how long energy companies keep customers waiting. In September and October 2020, we called 31 energy firms 12 times each, on different days and at different times of day.

Last year Scottish Power was the slowest to answer the phone, with a median average wait time of 21 minutes 24 seconds. This year, it was the 8th fastest to answer, keeping customers waiting for a mere 2 minutes 28 seconds on average. 

This was significantly faster than the average wait time across all providers (5 minutes 57 seconds).

They charge far too much and don't rectify issues.

Scottish Power customer

Their bills are OK but I have no idea what I am being charged for.

Scottish Power customer

It was faster for live chat, taking only 40 seconds to answer on average, although the service wasn't available a few of the times we tried. This makes it the third fastest responder using this medium.

Pros: One of the fastest to respond on live chat in our snapshot investigation

Cons: Very poor value for money according to its customers; slow to resolve to complaints

Can you join Scottish Power with a prepayment meter?

Yes, Scottish Power supplies customers with both standard and smart prepayment meters. It is currently installing smart pay-as-you-go meters. These let you top-up your credit using its app, and by as little as £1.

You can still top-up at the shop, using a barcode (which you can get in the app or by post). Customers can top-up at Payzone or the Post Office.

Does Scottish Power sell renewable energy?

Overall, Scottish Power says that just over a third of the electricity it sells to customers is renewable. However, of the 1million customers who have chosen its green tariffs, Scottish Power generates 90% of their electricity itself from renewables.

It matches the remaining 10% by buying renewable electricity directly from generators.

It says that ‘none of the renewable electricity we sell to our customers is backed by REGOs certificates alone’.

Proportion of renewable electricity sold to domestic customers
Generates renewable electricity?
Buys renewable electricity directly from generators?
Proportion of customers’ renewable electricity matched by REGO certificates?
Generates or buys directly from fossil fuels?
Sells green gas?
36%Yes (90% of customers' electricity on green tariffs)Yes (10% of customers' electricity on green tariffs)100%NoNo

Proportion of renewable electricity according to Scottish Power’s 2019/20 fuel mix. Other responses based on information provided by suppliers in August and September 2021.

Scottish Power says it’s ‘one of the biggest developers and generators of renewable electricity in the UK and Ireland’. It has more than 40 windfarms (including both offshore and onshore) which can generate 2.5GW of electricity.

It doesn’t sell green gas and explained that this is owing to ‘challenges in sourcing sufficient green gas in the market to match demand’.

Find out more about the differences between energy companies’ renewable electricity.

Scottish Power in the news

Scottish Power in 2021

March: Scottish Power is paying 157,236 of its customers a total of £1.9m after overcharging them when they switched supplier or tariff between 2013 and 2020. It was one of 18 energy firms found by regulator Ofgem to have failed to uphold these rules. Over 1 million customers were affected.

Affected customers will receive £12.51 each, on average. This includes reimbursing customers and paying some compensation.

Scottish Power in 2020

December: Scottish Power took on Yorkshire Energy's 74,000 domestic customers after the small supplier stopped trading.

Scottish Power set up a new division to produce 'green' hydrogen.

November: Scottish Power was investigated by energy regulator Ofgem over whether it broke rules around its obligations to install smart meters in homes in 2019.

October: Tonik Energy customers were taken on by Scottish Power after the small provider went bust.

Scottish Power in 2019

July: Scottish Power announced that it lost 120,000 customers in a year, so it then supplied around 4.75 million customers. 

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