Comment from Neil Clitheroe, CEO ScottishPower Retail & Generation
“ScottishPower is committed to delivering the best service possible and treating our customers fairly. We have a long track record of delivering high standards of service to our customers. To further improve our customer service, we invested £200 million on a new customer management system. All of our customer accounts have now been transferred on to the new system and we are starting to see some of the benefits of that system being delivered, such as extending our call centre opening hours to the longest in the industry and an “industry-first” online direct debit management service.
“The process of moving to our new system has been challenging and has resulted in service problems for some of our customers. We are determined to put this right. We continue to correct problems, pay appropriate compensation and ensure no customer is left financially disadvantaged.
“In November, following discussions with OFGEM, we voluntarily set ourselves challenging improvement targets for the coming months.
“We have successfully delivered two of the targets. Overdue bills are now less than 30,000 and we are answering phone calls faster, achieving an average of less than 2 minutes by the end of January.
“In relation to the target of having zero ombudsman remedies over 28 days, we cleared 2575 cases during November and, at 1st December, the Ombudsman confirmed that we have achieved the zero target.
“However, subsequently it was identified that 30 cases had been closed incorrectly. We sincerely apologise to these customers for these errors. The cases were immediately fixed on discovery. In line with our original voluntary commitment and with the agreement of Ofgem, we will now stop outbound selling from 4th March until 15th March. Over 500 sales advisers who are normally engaged in telesales activities will spend this period supporting our customer service teams across the UK.
“A number of customers have received interim ombudsman remedies from ScottishPower. In these instances, all past debt is written-off and all ongoing energy usage is not charged. ScottishPower will continue to honour this commitment until the underlying root cause on the account is fixed.
“The voluntary commitments are now complete but we will continue to report our service performance on our website on an ongoing basis. We will also continue to work constructively with Ofgem to support the ongoing investigation.
“We are all fully committed to delivering continued service improvements, return to the high service standards long associated with ScottishPower and ensure that our customers realise the very real benefits of our IT system investment.”
Notes to Editors
(1) Outbound sales activity is defined as:
(i) outbound telesales activities to new customers;
(ii) outbound telesales activities to add additional fuels to existing customers with one fuel account;
(iii) Sales activities carried out by energy advisors.
(2) Other sales channels such as sales from inbound calls, our website and 3rd party intermediary sites will not be affected.