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Ofgem Investigating Scottish Power’s Handling of Complaints


The energy market regulator has opened a compliance case into Scottish Power’s handling of customer complaints.

Ofgem said it had become “increasingly concerned” about the volume of complaints submitted to consumer bodies about Scottish Power. The energy giant, which has three million customers, attracted the most complaints of any Big Six supplier last year. 8,441 cases were referred to the Energy Ombudsman about Scottish Power in the 12 months to September 2019, with the most common issues being inaccurate bills and customer service issues.

Complaints surged at the beginning of 2019, when Scottish Power took on 108,000 customers from the collapsed supplier Extra Energy and failed to quickly refund them for credit balances.

Last month, the Observer reported numerous cases of Scottish Power inaccurately billing non-customers, including for thousands of pounds. Scottish Power blamed erroneous transfer

Ofgem said Scottish Power had been slow to resolve complaints, leading to customer dissatisfaction, and had been unable to identify, understand and resolve the root causes of issues to prevent future similar complaints.

Ofgem “takes customer service and complaints handling very seriously and have therefore intervened,” the regulator said.

Ofgem is asking Scottish Power to set clear improvement targets, to significantly reduce complaint resolution times and the volume of referrals made to consumer bodies, and to regularly report its progress. Failure to make progress could prompt Ofgem to take enforcement action.

Scottish Power assured the regulator that it takes complaints resolution seriously and is working to improve its complaints processes.

Scottish Power was previously fined £18 million by Ofgem in 2016 for poor customer service, after attracting more than a million complaints between June 2013 and December 2015. At the time, then Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said Scottish Power’s treatment of its customers had been “discernibly worse” than its peers. Scottish Power blamed a new IT system for those failings.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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