Robbed blind by Scottish Power

I don’t often settle scores via my blog, but here is a tale to curl your hair.

I’m in the process of renovating a small house, which is being rewired.  Lacking any form of heating and having just one live socket it understandably uses very little electricity.  With great difficulty I convinced Scottish Power of this situation, and agreed to a direct debit of £14.54 /month to cover the standing charge and negligible usage.

Today I thought I would confirm the situation by submitting a further meter reading, showing that in the last 6 weeks I had used 3KWH of electricity.

As soon as I submitted the reading,  this notice popped up! Increasing my bill to £191.44.

Something wrong here.. So I went to Direct Debit Manager  which enables me to set my own payment.  I planned to revert to the original sum.

It wasn’t that easy because this is what happened:

But  I tried and tried and eventually I got to the right page, and set about amending the Direct Debit.  Interestingly here they wanted not £191.44 but  £171.00.  Still pretty exorbitant for using no electricity. So I tried to set my own payment.

Read the bottom line!  I am allowed to revert to the old payment.  But there is one tiny problem:  the penalty will be an immediate one-off payment of £2,659.82!!

Deeply puzzled I took a look at the panel displayed if you click on “View your payments breakdown”

Beyond astounding.  This panel tells me that my next payment review takes place in April 2024.  However, according to Scottish Power paragraph 2, this is only 5 months away!  What calendar are they on? Would you trust a  direct debit to a company which doesn’t know what year they are in?  And increased your bill thirteen fold because you used three kilowatts of electricity?

I’ve since received an email, telling me that they are going to take not the recommended £171 but the far nicer £191.44 which appeared in the first pop-up. Seems dates and figures are pretty labile in the Scottish Power computers.   My account balance is already £47 in credit, which would cover almost three months in a house with no electricity.

Complain you suggest?  The chance would be a fine thing!   The system allows you to communicate online with bots or listen to a couple of hours of canned musak and then speak to an operative trained to resemble a robot.  I already have one unresolved complaint with Scottish Power running since early August.  I have 31 days before they start helping themselves to my £191.44.  I am going to need it.






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9 thoughts on “Robbed blind by Scottish Power

  1. Many years ago when private electric companies started up I was cold called by Scottish Power who suggested they could supply my gas cheaper. I asked for details to be sent, but didn’t agree to anything. Thought no more about it and went on holiday – upon return had a letter from British Gas saying they were sorry to see me go ! Someone at Scottish Power had signed me up without authority. Same problem getting in touch, but I found out the name of the CEO and phoned his secretary pretending that I was his golfing partner and had lost his phone number when I got a new phone. Without any further questioning as to who I was, she gave me his mobile number. I rang him up and he happened to be in a board meeting and apologised and said he would sort it. Several days later a letter arrived which said I would not be charged for any gas until the matter was resolved. It only took them four years, during which time I had free gas and eventually British Gas took me back after a lot of phone calls from BG to SP who would not pick up the bill – and I , armed with this letter wouldn’t either ! Good Luck – you might have to be devious !

  2. I have a long standing struggle with Scottish Power, which seduced me from a greener company about 5 years ago with the promise of a smart meter and reduction of £500 in my bills. However when the meters were installed I was told that because we live in a ‘shadow’, ie. a weak signal, the WIFI system is not strong enough for a smart meter. Because the meters are in awkward places ( aren’t they always?) my husband failing eyesight ( he is 87) and my problematic back _( I had spinal surgery last November) I have begged pleaded, complained, written letters to the CEO, waited hours on line, struggled with the chat system and sent meter readings which I do not trust to be correct. Someone needs to look at the meters. But no one comes.

    In total exasperation I have managed to send meter readings to Scottish Power and transferred our account to a greener company who have a human being to whom I can speak on the phone. However when I tried to check that all was well on the Scottish Power App they claim that I am £4,876.50 in credit! Not that I believe that, but if my credit were merely £50, I would, not unreasonably, want it back. If you try to use the Scottish Power chat line, you are told that they are busy and you will have to wait.

    Ac the 90 year old remarked “I don’t buy green bananas any more”.

    What can we do?

  3. It is possible to pay your bills without setting up the direct debit. Cancel it and send in the meter reading once a month (or once a week if you really want to annoy them). Once the reading goes in, you get the bill for the period covered by it, in arrears (the old fashioned way-you pay for what you have used, not give them money in advance!). Pay the bill, rinse and repeat. That’s what I do. They can stuff the direct debit.

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