Npower had been the most complained about of the Big Six for the first two quarters of 2014, but were overtaken in the final half of the year by Scottish Power.
The national charity and UK consumer advocate has released its latest quarterly complaints league table, which reveals:
- There were 1,163 complaints about Scottish Power per 100,000 customers in the last quarter of 2014: the latest period for which data is available.
- This is the highest number of complaints ever recorded about one energy firm.
- Complaints about Scottish Power increased 588% throughout 2014.
The new figures also show that SSE retained top spot as the least complained about company.
In the latest energy complaints table below the best performing supplier (for Quarter 4, 2014) is at the top and the worst is at the bottom.
|Complaints about UK energy suppliers per 100,000 customers|
|Jan – Mar 2014||April – Jun 2014||July – Sept 2014||Oct – Dec -2014|
In the last quarter, the number of complaints about SSE, British Gas, EDF Energy and npower decreased. Npower has made improvements, but is still performing poorly relative to most other firms, with more than five times as many complaints as the next worst company.
Complaints about Scottish Power are due to its new billing system, which meant some people didn’t receive a bill and others struggled to have their problems resolved.
Scottish Power was banned from selling energy for 12 days in March 2015 after failing to meet OFGEM targets for resolving customer complaints. The investigation behind the ban found that the firm had not made necessary customer service improvements to respond to complaints.
Citizens Advice has worked with Scottish Power to help resolve the problems its customers are experiencing. As a result it has now taken steps to deal with its backlog of complaints. These include hiring new customer service staff, extending call centre hours, and setting up a special phone line for vulnerable customers.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, commented: “New billing systems are routinely failing energy customers. In the last few years, four of the largest 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 resulted 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.
“We have negotiated with Scottish Power to ensure customers affected by its problems get a fair deal. We will keep working with the supplier to make sure the billing and customer service problems are resolved.”
Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Margaret Lynch added: “Trust in the energy market is at rock bottom among consumers in Scotland, so it’s really disappointing to see that certain suppliers are underperforming.
“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 6 fold in 2014, this highlights a truly shocking level of customer service.”