Problems with Scottish Power’s new IT system have led to it receiving the biggest rise in complaints any energy supplier has ever seen.
The firm’s new IT system for billing meant some customers did not receive bills at all and were being charged for late payments.
This has led to Scottish Power being the most complained about energy supplier in the UK, with 1,163 complaints per 100,000 customers for the last quarter of 2014, an increase of 588% over the year. This saw the company overtake Npower as the most complained about energy supplier in the UK.
Scottish Power spent £200m on a new customer IT system in 2014, leading to a transitional period the last six months of year, in which the firm saw lots of problems.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said new billing systems are routinely failing energy customers.
“In the past few years, four of the largest firms have introduced new billing systems, and their implementation has caused chaos for consumers,” she said.
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“Thousands of customers have been hit by delayed and incorrect bills which have resulted in extreme frustration and significant debts.”
Late in 2014, Scottish Power was forced by energy regulator Ofgem to stop taking on new customers for a two-week period because it was failing to meet targets for responding to complaints.
Many customers have complained they are unable to get through to Scottish Power to resolve issues, but the firm has increased the number of customer service staff available to deal with the backlog generated by these complaints by 700.
“We apologise unreservedly to any customers who have experienced account issues,” said Scottish Power retail and generation CEO Neil Clitheroe.
“Recently, our call answering times have been among the best in the industry and outstanding complaints have been reduced significantly. We remain fully committed to resolving outstanding issues and ensuring that no customers will be left out of pocket.”