Scottish Power: Provisional Order

Orders Orders
  • Open - Provisional Order issued
  • Provisional Order confirmed
  • Decision Proposed - Confirm Provisional Order
  • Decision Proposed - Revoke Provisional Order
  • Notice to rectify
  • Notice to revoke licence
  • Closed

Publication date

Company

Industry sector

Supply and Retail Market

Licence type

  • Electricity Supply Licence
  • Gas Supplier Licence

On 21 September 2022, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“the Authority) issued a provisional order to Scottish Power Energy Retail Ltd. (trading under: “Scottish Power”) (“SP”) in accordance with section 25(2) of the Electricity Act 1989 and 28(2) of the Gas Act 1986.

It appears to the Authority that SP is contravening or is likely to contravene Standard Licence Conditions SLC 27.8A(b), 27.8A(c) and 27.8A(d). The behaviours of concern giving rise to the Provisional Order are:

  • SP’s apparent failure to consider its customer’s ability to pay on a case-by-case basis and set debt repayment rates based on those individual circumstances;
  • SP are setting £5 minimum default repayment amounts without assessing customer’s ability to pay;
  • Staff at SP appear to be failing to follow their own internal policy and procedures on setting lower repayment amounts where the customer is in payment difficulty;
  • In cases where customers are expressing concerns about the affordability of the level of repayments SP are not exploring all available options to support customers (including for those customers who are vulnerable);

Therefore, the Authority has taken the decision to issue a Provisional Order which seeks to bring SP into compliance with SLCs 27.8A(b), 27.8A(c) and 27.8A(d).

The provisional order requires that Scottish Power immediately, but no later than 5 October 2022:          

  • Pause disconnections for those customers with active, agreed or overdue repayment plans at £5 per week (per fuel) or below.
  • Review and update all call scripts, training materials, policies, communications with customers and provide training to Representatives to ensure they reflect that there is no default minimum repayment amount when sufficient information is available on a customer’s ability to pay.
  • Contact and review all customers on debt repayment plans of £5 per week, per fuel, or below to ensure they are based on each customer’s ability to pay.
  • Commission an independent audit of its own processes and provide the report to Ofgem by no later than 31 October 2022.
  • Fully engage with Citizens Advice Bureau, Citizens Advice Scotland’s Extra Help Unit and Ombudsman Services to ensure all referrals and off supply incidents are reassessed in line with the SLCs. 
  • Continue to engage with the Authority over the coming months to ensure compliance with the relevant SLCs and other provisions of the order.

Finally, the Provisional Order requires that by no later than 4pm on 31 October SP provide the Authority with an independent audit confirming its compliance with the other aspects of the Provisional Order, or to aid in the creation of a remedial plan to bring SP into compliance with the Order. SP are further required to carry out any remedial action outlined in the audit report and provide written assurance to the authority that this is completed, no later than 21 November 2022

Further details of what Scottish Power is required to do, and by when, are contained in the order itself and the Notice of Reasons, below. Further information regarding provisional orders is contained within our Enforcement Guidelines.

Provisional orders are issued in certain circumstances in accordance with the Electricity Act 1989 and/or the Gas Act 1986 and where certain conditions are satisfied. Further information regarding provisional orders is contained within our Enforcement Guidelines. For further information about this Provisional Order see the attached documents below.