Energy > Our Reviews

Scottish Power Review

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Jun 13, 2017


Despite its Caledonian name, Scottish Power has been owned by the giant Spanish company Iberdrola Group since 2007; Iberdrola operates in 40 countries and generates its own power.

COULD A SWITCH TO SCOTTISH POWER HELP YOU SAVE?

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Scottish Power is one of the so-called Big Six energy suppliers and provides gas and electricity to more than 5.6 million homes in the UK.

Don’t be confused by the way it refers to itself – it refers to itself as ScottishPower, without a gap between the words.

It generates its own energy from a combination of coal, gas and hydro-electric power, and says it has a commitment to energy sustainability. 

Scottish Power is the largest producer of wind energy in the UK, creating more than 1,600MW.

According to the company, that’s enough to meet the energy needs of Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh combined!

To see if you could save money switching to Scottish Power, compare energy suppliers deals across the market. 

 

What does Ofgem think of Scottish Power?

All these poor scores do not go down well with energy regulator Ofgem.

In April 2016 it fined Scottish Power £18m for poor call handling, complaint resolution and billing.

Poor customer service and reviews resulted in over one million complaints between June 2013 and December 2015.

The money was to go to vulnerable Scottish Power customers affected by poor customer service, as well as charity.

In 2015 the company was forced to suspend all sales for 12 days after failing to resolve customer complaints, and missing Ofgem's reviewed targets to deal with them.

It was also warned to improve the speed with which it answered customer calls and to reduce the number of late bills.

In 2014 it was ordered to pay £750,000 after an Ofgem probe found the supplier did not have a clear enough process to assess the cost of different payment types. This resulted in some customers possibly being overcharged for using a certain payment method.

In 2013, Scottish Power was fined £8.5m by Ofgem for offering misleading information through its doorstep and telesales sales between 2009 and 2012.

WHAT CAN SCOTTISH POWER OFFER YOU?

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Scottish Power's customer service

It's fair to say that Scottish Power does not have the best reputation among customers, just look at the Scottish Power reviews.

In the Which? survey of 22 UK energy companies, quizzing almost 9,000 people, the company was third from last.

It scored two out of five stars for: value for money and helping with saving energy, and three stars for accuracy and clarity of bills and customer service.

Its overall score was a poor 50%.

And in the 2016 Ofgem survey, carried out every two years, into complaints and how customers feel about the way they’re handled, Scottish Power were only beaten into last place by Npower.

Along with First Utility, Scottish Power had the highest proportion by far of "very dissatisfied" complainants.

A majority of Npower and Scottish Power domestic customers who complained (71% and 59% respectively) said they had or were planning to switch as a result of their experience.

Only about a third of those who complained were given a named contact at their supplier and did not always receive a follow-up at the agreed time.

Official complaints data shows that between January and March 2017, Scottish Power received 2,493 complaints per 100,00 customers - more than any of its Big Six rivals!

In that period, Scottish Power said billing (33%), customer service problems (28%) and payment issues (17%) were the most common complaints.

Billing and payment issues cover unpaid money owed to customers in credit - a common issue across the energy industry. Here's what to do if you’re owed money by your energy supplier

Scottish Power also came last in a call-waiting investigation carried out by Which? at the end of 2014 – with an average waiting time of 30 minutes for customer service.

And yet if you call it’s sales line you only had to wait one minute.

Which? says it’s improved a lot this year, with an average wait now of two and a half minutes. That makes it 7th out of 22 utility companies.

Scottish Power's customer service contact number is 0800 027 0072. You can also make a complaint about Scottish Power on A Spokesman Said. 

We'll do our best to help. 

 

Scottish Power and Cancer Research

Customer service may not be the best, but the company is pretty big on charity and for some customers that may well count.

It teamed up with Cancer Research UK in 2012 and since then has raised over £8 million for the charity.

Customers who want to support this cause can choose the company’s Help Beat Cancer tariff. Scottish Power will donate every month to Cancer Research on the customer’s behalf while the fixed tariff is running.

 

Scottish Power: PowerUp - a new way to buy power

Scottish Power has introduced new technology in an attempt, it says, to bring in greater billing and usage transparency.

Soon-to-be introduced, PowerUp is aimed at simplifying the way customers buy gas and electricity and introduces a model of buying similar to how we buy fuel at the petrol station.

Customers will be able to buy ‘days’ of energy, with an app that allows them to watch the gauge and review their usage.

Customers can buy fuel in packages from one day to one month, up to 180 days, at a fixed price.

They then track their use via the app, so allowing them to clearly see their total spend relative to what they use and how much they pay each day.

PowerUp customers will not pay 'standing charges', so if they don’t use energy on a given day, they are not charged.

The scheme will initially be available to Scottish Power customers, from early October 2016.

While PowerUp sounds like it could be a game changer in the market, it’s not yet available and so not yet proven. Those interested in giving it a try can register their interest on the Scottish Power site.

There’s more on the scheme here.

 

Scottish Power price history

If you're looking to save money on your energy bills, it's worth checking out a supplier's price history. 

In February 2016, Scottish Power announced a price cut of 5.4%; while this was in line with the other Big Six, it was a marginally bigger cut than the other companies.

In December 2013, prices rose by 8.6%, lifting the average dual-fuel customer's bill to £1,480, a rise of £112.

And in February 2017, it raised the typical Scottish Power dual-fuel bill by 7.8%

It’s tariffs generally appear to be in line with other major energy suppliers, but prices are always changing and will vary according to where you live, which is why you need to use a comparison tool to be sure of getting the best deal.

Certainly, however, it’s cheapest fixed rates have not been competitive with the cheapest on the market over the last two years.

But since the winter of 2015, its best tariff has rapidly closed the gap on the best on the market.

FIND OUT IF YOU CAN SAVE WITH SCOTTISH POWER

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How green is Scottish Power?

Where Scottish Power gets its fuel from (the UK average is in brackets):

* Coal: 34% (17) 
* Gas: 36% (32) 
* Renewables: 26% (24) 
* Nuclear: 2.3% (24) 
* Other: 1.0% (3) 

It’s commitment to wind power and the proportion of energy it generates from this source, appears to make Scottish Power one of the greenest of the Big Six.

 

A Spokesman Said’s verdict

Pros:

* The company has green credentials
* It’s innovating with its new payment and energy monitoring method, PowerUp. While this has not yet hit the market, it may be a game changer. Certainly, Scottish Power hopes so.

Cons:

* It’s not been among the best on price recently, although it is becoming more competitive.
* Its customer service has been pretty dire in the past. Sometimes, however, a terrible track record like this can prompt urgent and effective improvements by the company to prevent loss of market share.