ScottishPower has been ordered by Ofgem to improve its service or face a sales ban. The regulator said that the energy company has to address and improve the way it deals with customers.
ScottishPower customers are often left waiting too long on the telephone (forcing over a quarter of calls to be abandoned) and many report their bills being sent late.
Ofgem has said that ScottishPower has to improve the average call waiting times to two minutes by the end of January and reduce the number of overdue bills from 75,000 to 30,000 by the end of December.
If the company does not meet the new targets that Ofgem has set than the consequence in a suspension of sales.
Sarah Harrison, senior partner in charge of enforcement at Ofgem, said:
“Scottish Power’s customers are experiencing unacceptably long call waiting times and a drastic drop in overall customer satisfaction
“Ofgem’s action will drive immediate improvements for Scottish Power customers.”
The intervention shows that the energy market is not working for consumers.
“The investigation we launched 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.”
Scottish Power chief executive Neil Clitheroe, wrote a letter apologising “unreservedly” to customers who have received sub-standard service over the past few months.
“We will do what we can to correct every problem, pay appropriate compensation and ensure that no customer is disadvantaged.”
The company will have to report its progress on a monthly basis and if any of the targets are missed then proactive sales activities have to be instantly suspended.
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said:
“This is yet another example of the big energy companies failing their customers.
“Under David Cameron people are paying more than ever for their gas and electricity, but all too often the customer service they receive is not good enough.”