Energy firm Scottish Power will face a sales ban unless it improves its customer service within three months industry watchdog Ofgem has warned.
If the energy company fails to improve within this period, it will be banned from adding to its customer numbers.
Ofgem has given the firm three months to:
- improve the speed of answering customer calls
- reduce the number of overdue bills from 75,000 to 30,000
- remove the backlog for acting on Ombudsman decisions for individual complaints
Scottish Power will also have to publish monthly progress updates on its website.
Sarah Harrison, senior partner in charge of enforcement at Ofgem, said: "Scottish Power's customers are experiencing unacceptably long call waiting times and a drastic drop in overall customer satisfaction.
"Ofgem's action today will drive immediate improvements for Scottish Power customers. In a properly functioning market we would expect companies to compete keenly on service. The need for our intervention here is yet more evidence that the energy market is not working for consumers.
"The investigation we launched today is the third time we have used our new standards of conduct to make suppliers treat consumers fairly. This is a clear signal to suppliers to up their game and give consumers the service they are entitled to."
Scottish Power's Chief Executive, Neil Clitheroe, said in a letter to Ofgem: "I would like to apologise unreservedly to any customer who has not received the level of service that they deserve from Scottish Power in recent months and provide my personal assurance that we will do what we can to correct every problem, pay appropriate compensation and ensure that no customer is disadvantaged."