Unwanted title for energy giant

ScottishPower hits record for customer complaints

scottishpowerScottish Power has broken the record for customer complaints in a single quarter, according to new figures.

Customers issued 1,163 complaints about Scottish Power per 100,000 customers in the last quarter of 2014, said Citizens Advice.

That makes it the highest figure ever recorded against a single supplier, ending a year in which the total number of complaints about the Big Six provider increased by 488%.

In March the company was banned from proactive sales for 12 days after failing to meet customer service targets set by Ofgem.

The regulator found the firm had not made necessary improvements to respond to customer complaints.

Citizens Advice said complaints about ScottishPower resulted from a new billing system, which left some people not receiving a bill and others struggling to have their problems resolved.

The charity said it had worked with Scottish Power to help resolve the problems, and the company had taken steps to deal with its backlog of complaints such as hiring new staff, extending call centre hours and setting up a special phone line for vulnerable customers.

SSE retained the top spot as the least complained-about company.

The figures also show that the number of complaints about SSE, British Gas, EDF Energy and Npower decreased.

Npower had been the most complained-about member of the Big Six for the first two quarters of 2014 but was overtaken in the final half of the year by Scottish Power.

However, while Npower had made improvements, it still received 599 complaints per 100,000 customers in the last quarter of last year, making it the second most complained-about company, the charity said.

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Margaret Lynch said: “Trust in the energy market is at rock bottom among consumers in Scotland, so it’s really disappointing to see that certain suppliers are under-performing.

“We saw a staggering increase in the number of Scottish Power issues brought to the Citizens Advice service last year. The league table reveals that complaints to the supplier increased almost six fold in 2014. This highlights a truly shocking level of customer service.”

Neil Clitheroe, chief executive of Scottish Power retail and generation, said: “We apologise unreservedly to any customers who have experienced account issues.

“These statistics reflect service problems in the last six months of 2014, when we had our most challenging period following the introduction of a new £200m customer IT system.”

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