Cash will go to vulnerable as well as good causes
A leading fuel poverty charity has welcomed the announcement part of an £18 million fine levied on Scottish Power will go to good causes.
The energy regulator, Ofgem, said the firm failed to treat its customers fairly, with inadequate call handling, complaint resolution and billing.
More than 300,000 customers across the UK received late bills. The £18m will go to vulnerable customers and charity.
Norman Kerr, director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, said while is regrettable fines are still required for poor customer service by energy companies it is encouraging some of the cash will go to charity.
He said: “The recent trend where fines placed on energy companies are being directed towards worthy causes, such as support for vulnerable consumers and the work of charities, is commendable. At least some good is resulting from a situation that should not have happened in the first place.
“With many energy customers still struggling to afford to pay their bills and with fuel poverty levels at a high level meaning people are finding it difficult to keep warm in their homes, this fine will end up doing some good.”
The £18m payment sends a strong message to all energy companies about the importance of treating consumers well at all times
Ofgem said that the issues with Scottish Power's customer service led to more than one million complaints between June 2013 and December 2015.
Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: "Scottish Power let its customers down during the implementation of a new IT system. When things went wrong, it didn't act quickly enough to fix them. This created frustration and worry for many customers, who also wasted a lot of time trying to contact the supplier by phone.
"The £18m payment sends a strong message to all energy companies about the importance of treating consumers well at all times, including while new systems are put in place."
The details of which charities will benefit have yet to be announced.