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ScottishPower apologises to customers for poor service

ScottishPower was today given a dressing down by the industry regulator and forced to issue an embarrassing apology to customers for poor service.

Ofgem listed a number of failings by the energy company and warned that it faced further sanctions, including a sales ban, unless it improved performance. How it treats its customers is now the subject of an Ofgem inquiry.

The company has agreed to meet a number of targets within three months including improvements in call waiting times, late bills and dealing with Ombudsman complaints.

The regulator said it had to improve the speed of answering customer calls by the end of January and must reduce the number of overdue bills. More than 75,000 late bills must be cut to 30,000 by the end of next month.

ScottishPower needs to remove the backlog for acting on Ombudsman decisions for individual complaints by the end of November.

Each month ScottishPower will publish its progress towards these commitments on its website. If it misses any of its targets its proactive sales activities will instantly be suspended.

 Sarah Harrison, senior partner in charge of enforcement at Ofgem, said: “ScottishPower’s customers are experiencing unacceptably long call waiting times and a drastic drop in overall customer satisfaction.

“Ofgem’s action today will drive immediate improvements for ScottishPower customers. In a properly functioning market we would expect companies to compete keenly on service. The need for our intervention here is yet more evidence that the energy market is not working for consumers. This further justifies our decision to refer the market to the Competition and Markets Authority.

 “The investigation we launched today is the third time we have used our new standards of conduct to make suppliers treat consumers fairly. This is a clear signal to suppliers to up their game and give consumers the service they are entitled to.”

 In a letter to Ofgem, Scottish Power’s Chief Executive, Neil Clitheroe, said: I would like to apologise unreservedly to any customer who has not received the level of service that they deserve from Scottish Power in recent months and provide my personal assurance that we will do what we can to correct every problem, pay appropriate compensation and ensure that no customer is disadvantaged.”

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