Scottish Power has set up a new hardship fund to help some of its customers who are among the most vulnerable in society. The company will commit initial funding of £5.2m over two years, 2015 and 2016.
The fund will be used to offer financial support to customers facing wider financial hardship and who are in arrears on their gas and/or electricity bills.
Glasgow-based Social Enterprise Direct – part of the Citizens Advice network – has been appointed to act as independent administrator of the fund.
The hardship fund will award individual grants up to a maximum of £3,000. Each application will be dealt with on a case by case basis, with consideration given to budget availability within the Fund at any given time. Any award will be appropriate to the size of the debt owed and the individual circumstances and at the discretion of the fund.
From 2017 Scottish Power will also add unclaimed credits from customers to the hardship fund, once they are two years old.
Britain’s Big Six power companies – which supply gas and electricity to more than 8 in 10 households in the UK – are viewed with suspicion by many customers because of the ‘rocket and feathers’ issue, where retail prices shoot upwards like rockets, but slowly fall in price (like feathers).
The company that owns the ‘Scottish Gas’ brand – Centrica plc – has appointed Mark Hodges as its new Managing Director. He will also be in charge of ‘British Gas’.
Hodges – formerly chief executive of a major household insurance company – said: “Centrica is at the forefront of meeting the energy and energy services needs of customers in a range of markets and I am looking forward to being part of the team.”