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Scottish Power sales ban threat over customer service

Ofgem is investigating Scottish Power's treatment of customers. Credit: PA

Big Six energy supplier Scottish Power was today ordered by regulator Ofgem to improve the way it deals with customers or face a sales ban.

Ofgem found the firm was making customers wait for too long on the telephone, forcing a quarter of calls to be abandoned, while too many bills were also being sent out late.

Ofgem warned the Spanish-owned firm that failure to meet new targets would result in it having to suspend sales activities.

It has separately launched an investigation into the gas and electricity supplier's treatment of customers.

UN climate report: Fossil fuels 'should be phased out by 2100'

UN climate report: Fossil fuels 'should be phased out by 2100' Credit: Jan Woitas/DPA/Press Association Images

Power generated from fossil fuels should be phased out completely by 2100 a new report has warned.

The United Nations climate body published the final report of its latest assessment on the science of climate change, drawing together three studies published in the past year.

In the majority of low?concentration stabilization scenarios, the share of low?carbon electricity supply (comprising renewable energy (RE), nuclear and Carbon Capture Schemes (CCS), including BECCS) increases from the current share of approximately 30% to more than 80% by 2050, and fossil fuel power generation without CCS is phased out almost entirely by 2100.

– Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report

The report comes as efforts build towards securing a new global treaty on climate change, which it is hoped can be agreed in Paris at the end of next year, and it said that international co-operation was "critical" for effective efforts to tackle the problem.

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Poor customer satisfaction 'caused by new IT system'

One of the Big Six energy companies under fire for poor customer satisfaction has defended its actions and pointed to the installation of a new IT system for its poor ratings.

Scottish Power, which saw its customer satisfaction rate drop by more than half, said:

The installation of a new £200 million IT system throughout 2014 has led to this sudden drop in our customer satisfaction scores.

All customers have now been migrated on to the new system, which has resulted in a very busy period as accounts have been brought up to date.

Although the transition has been challenging, we have recruited more than 250 additional customer service staff to answer calls and resolve any customer complaints.

We are confident that customers will now start to see real long-term service improvements coming through. We now have the longest call centre opening hours in the industry and have also been expanding our online services.

– AScottish Power spokesman

Energy firms warned of 'unacceptable' failings

Energy companies have been warned of the "unacceptable" customer satisfaction levels and told to "act quickly" in a stern letter from Ofgem.

The energy regulator wrote to all companies after a damning report into consumer satisfaction levels found:

  • Satisfaction with Npower and Scottish Power had fallen particularly markedly, from 36% to 21% and from 44% to 20% respectively.
  • Only SSE managing to maintain levels of satisfaction found two years ago.
  • In today's letter, Ofgem warned companies to improve the speed of resolving complaints, communicate better with customers during the process and be more proactive in finding a solution.

Ofgem demands action on customer complaints

Ofgem has written to the Big Six energy companies to demand they improve their poor handling of customer complaints, it has emerged.

According to Ofgem, halve of those who complain are not satisfied with the outcome. Credit: PA

The energy watchdog also sent letters to smaller and independent companies, and voiced concerns about the "industry-wide failure" to work with fed-up customers.

In his letter Ofgem chief executive, Dermot Nolan, told companies to improve the speed of resolving complaints, communicate better with customers during the process and be more proactive in finding a solution.

It follows research by Ofgem that found more than half of those who had complained - 57% of domestic customers and 52% of small businesses - were not satisfied with how their supplier handled the problem.

And in what appeared to be a total breakdown of communication - in almost half of cases where the supplier considered the case resolved, the customer did not.

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Customer service table 'should be a wake-up call'

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd has said that its latest annual customer service survey should act as a 'wake-up call" for low-ranking firms.

The Big Six energy companies have now hit rock bottom for customer service and, with record high levels of complaints, it is clear just how far they still have to go to put things right for their customers.

Good companies know the value of customer service, so it's disappointing that some of our biggest firms seem to have a lot to learn about keeping their customers happy.

This survey should be a wake-up call for the companies with the lowest customer scores.

– Richard Lloyd, which?

'Big six' energy firms rate poorly in Which? customer survey

The UK's six largest energy companies are among the worst offendors for poor customer service, according to an annual survey by consumer group Which?

All of the big six - British Gas, EDF Energy, E.On, npower, ScottishPower and SSE - languished in the bottom fifth of the ranking of the nation's biggest brands.

npower came bottom of the table with a customer score of just 57 percent, replacing last year's lowest scoring company Ryanair.

Second from the bottom is Scottish Power, with a customer rating of 58%, down from joint 62nd in last year's rankings.

Energy review 'will provide opportunity to rebuild trust'

A wide-ranging review into the UK's energy market will provide "an opportunity to rebuild trust" between consumers and providers, Energy minister Amber Rudd has said.

I want an energy market that works for consumers first. That is why the Competition and Markets Authority has been asked to undertake the most far-reaching independent inquiry into the market. This will provide an opportunity to rebuild trust in the sector.

– Amber Rudd
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