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Scottish Power faces ban over customer service

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Energy regulator Ofgem has ordered ScottishPower to overhaul its customer service or face suspension of sales activity.

The ‘Big 6′ energy supplier must significantly improve call waiting times by the end of January, reduce the number of overdue bills from 75,000 to 30,000 by the end of December and completely remove the backlog for acting on Ombudsman decisions for individual complaints by the end of November.

ScottishPower will publish monthly progress reports towards these commitments on its website. If it misses any targets its proactive sales activities will be immediately suspended.

Sarah Harrison, senior partner in charge of enforcement at Ofgem, said: “Ofgem’s action today will drive immediate improvements for ScottishPower customers. In a properly functioning market we would expect companies to compete keenly on service. The need for our intervention here is yet more evidence that the energy market is not working for consumers. This further justifies our decision to refer the market to the Competition and Markets Authority.”

ScottishPower chief executive Neil Clitheroe apologised in a letter to the regulator, offering his personal assurance that the company will “do what we can to correct every problem, pay appropriate compensation and ensure that no customers is disadvantaged.”

Tom Lyon, energy expert for, said: “We applaud Ofgem’s strong stance on this issue. Customer service is fast becoming a key factor in the decision to switch energy supplier. As well as getting a good deal, customers need to feel valued, so energy companies really have to start putting them at the heart of what they do.”

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