15th May 2015
Energy supplier Scottish Power has receive a record number of complaints, with a 488% jump in dissatisfied customers.
Analysis by Citizens Advice shows as many as 1,163 customers per 100,000 complained in the last three months of last year, the highest ever recorded against a single supplier in any one quarter.
The complaints, which shot up 488% over the year, are largely due to a new billing system.
SSE received the least complaints over the quarter and complaints about British Gas, EDF and Npower all fell.
Scottish Power had been banned from proactively selling to customers for 12 days after the energy regulator found it had not made necessary improvements to how it handles and responds to customer complaints.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy, said: ‘The new billing systems are routinely failing energy customers. In the last few years, four of the target firms have introduced new billing systems and their implementation has caused chaos for consumers.
‘Thousands of customers have been hit by delayed and incorrect bills which have results in extreme frustration and significant debts. It’s encouraging that Npower is now turning the corner, but Scottish Power still has a very long way to go.’
Scottish Power said it is working to clear the backlog of complaints by hiring new staff and extending call centre opening times.
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 £200 million customer IT system.
‘To make improvements we have added 700 new customer service advisers and we worked closely with Ofgem on call waiting times, outstanding bills and ombudsman complaints. We also agreed with Ofgem to stop outbound sales for a two week period…We remain fully committed to resolving outstanding issues and ensuring that no customer will be left out of pocket.’