The day before ScottishPower lowers its standard gas and electricity prices across the UK1, the company has announced it will become the first major UK energy supplier to introduce a credit guarantee scheme for all of its 3.2 million customers who pay monthly via direct debit.
From the start of June 2009, the company will automatically pay £1 back for every full £33 a customer is in credit at their annual direct debit reassessment date on balances over £100, up to a maximum of £500.2
Willie MacDiarmid, Director of Energy Retail at ScottishPower said:
“ScottishPower make every effort to ensure that our customers Direct Debit instalments are calculated accurately at the start of each payment year, so ensuring they only pay for the energy they use. Our credit reward scheme further reinforces our commitment to accurately setting our customers Direct Debit payments. It’s also an added bonus for those customers who prefer to remain in credit and avoid falling into debt.”
At the same time, the company has also introduced a new option that allows customers to ‘Pay in Advance’ and receive a 5% discount against the standard ScottishPower Direct Debit rates.3 To qualify, customers who pay via either cash quarterly or direct debit, must pay a minimum of one year’s estimated energy usage in advance – up to a maximum of £20,000. The Company is also working on a similar option for prepayment customers.
This “Pay in Advance” option, which will be made available to existing ScottishPower customers, offers a guaranteed saving equivalent to up to 10 weeks of free energy over the course of one year4.
Commenting on this new option, Willie MacDiarmid said: “ScottishPower has always taken an innovative approach to product design. We were the first company to introduce a combined Gas and Electricity Bill, have the No.1 online service5 and led the market on capped price Gas & Electricity offers, which have since benefited millions of customers across the country.
“Our new Pay in Advance option will mean that customers receive a guaranteed 5% saving on final bill amounts regardless of future price movements, for as long as their payment lasts. This offers good value for money and is an excellent way for our customers to make their money work harder.”
Notes to editors:
1 ScottishPower recently announced reductions in its gas and electricity prices effective from 31st March 2009. Prices for gas customers will drop by an average of 7.5% and electricity bills by an average of 3%. ScottishPower is one of only two suppliers to implement cuts for UK customers on both gas and electricity this year.
2 Terms and conditions will apply and will be made available to customers in line with the June start date for the scheme.
3 ScottishPower guarantees that the Pay in Advance Offer prices will remain 5% below our standard monthly Direct Debit electricity prices and 5% below our standard monthly Direct Debit gas prices until your initial advance payment has run out. This means that your prices may vary over time, however, the differential against our standard monthly Direct Debit prices will remain fixed at 5%. The Pay in Advance Offer is available to customers who take (i) electricity or (ii) gas and electricity and who pay in advance and is not available to customers who use more than 73,268kWh of mains gas per annum. A gas only product is not available.
4 Annual saving of up to 10 weeks equivalent free energy shown is based on an average of ScottishPower’s Gas & Electricity Offer customers across Britain with annual mains gas usage of 20,500kWh and annual Standard Rate electricity usage of 3,300kWh, who pay quarterly (excluding prompt payer discounts) and switch to ScottishPower’s Pay in Advance Gas & Electricity Offer. Prices correct as at 31st March 2009. All figures shown include VAT at the current applicable rate of 5%.
5 ScottishPower has been consistently awarded the 'Best Online Services Award' in the annual uSwitch customer satisfaction survey since October 2006
Media Information, Simon McMillan 0141 566 4875 / 07753 622 257