Scottish Power to pay £15m to customers

Thousands of people are to get a share of an £18 million penalty imposed against Scottish Power by Ofgem. The fine comes following poor levels o…

Thousands of people are to get a share of an £18 million penalty imposed against Scottish Power by Ofgem. The fine comes following poor levels of customer service provided by the company that left many not knowing how much money they owed for their power.

Problems followed the introduction of a new billing system by Scottish Power, which sent incorrectly estimated bills. It also generated direct debit demands and some people were left without bills for extended periods of time.

In addition, customers had problems contacting staff to discuss their account and deal with any bills sent to them. The shocking customer service provided was ultimately investigated by energy regulator Ofgem, which ruled in favour of the customers.

However, Scottish Power did not implement Ofgem's decisions quickly enough. This led to Ofgem announcing that the company is to pay a penalty of £18 million, with £15 million being shared among the affected customers and £3 million going to charity.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, which provided evidence to the regulator during its investigations, said: "Scottish Power failed its customers not once but twice.

"Not only did the firm struggle to get people’s bills right first time, it also failed to sort out the problems when customers tried to complain.   
   
"Providing someone with an accurate, timely bill which reflects how much gas or electricity they have used is a fundamental part of running an energy firm.  But time and time again we’re seeing big companies introduce new billing systems which leave customers in limbo – with the wrong bill and no way to sort it out."

Scottish Power is now working to compensate customers who were affected by the issues created by the new billing system, while the large fine should send a message to other energy firms that customers need to be treated fairly.

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