This week Ofgem has dished out its third largest fine to one of the “big six” energy suppliers after Scottish Power agreed to pay £18m for poor customer service to it’s domestic customers.

Between June 2013 and December 2015 Ofgem declared that Scottish Power had failed to provide the basic level of service required. Dermot Nolan, Ofgem’s Chief Executive said “ This is a significant amount of money to be fined.”

The main issues were around call handling, complaint resolution and billing. Investigations found that customers had to wait for unacceptably long periods of time before their calls were answered, complaints were handled poorly and took far too long to be resolved. Additionally more than 300,000 customers received late final bills which caused a huge delay in customers receiving money they were owed.

Scottish Power’s response was to blame a new IT system and they apologised to those affected. However, Nolan said that it was irrelevant how they “messed up” and all that matters is they provided poor service which they needed to feel consequences for.

Up to £15m of the money raised by the fine will be paid to vulnerable Scottish Power customers who were affected by the company’s failings, with the remainder donated to charity.

The general view is that customers can vote with their feet and if you are unhappy with your energy supplier – look to change.

We are soon to launch Energy Relief, the first not for profit domestic energy switching service. You can find out more here.