By Jonathan Davies

Energy supplier Scottish Power has been hit with a 12-day sales ban for failing to meet the regulator's customer service targets.

Energy regulator Ofgem said Scottish Power cannot engage in "proactive sales" for 12 days, starting today (4 March).

The ban comes after the energy supplier failed to meet clear up all outstanding Energy Ombudsman decisions over customer complaints.

Scottish Power accepted the ban and said it is "committed to delivering the best service possible and treating our customers fairly".

Announcing the sales ban, Sarah Harrison, Ofgem's senior partner in charge of enforcement, said: "A sales ban illustrates the difficulties Scottish Power is having in delivering the levels of service customers deserve.

"While Ofgem's targets have driven significant improvements in Scottish Power's performance, we remain very concerned about how customers are being treated."

In November, Ofgem said that Scottish Power had to answer customer calls quicker, reduce a backlog of bills and clear up the Ombudsman decisions.

Scottish Power satisfied the requirements on answering calls and reducing backlogs, but failed on the Ombudsman decisions.

The regulator said: "Ofgem and Ombudsman Services uncovered new evidence that showed the company had not fully met its November target. We have continued to work with Ombudsman Services and they found Scottish Power fell short by 30."

"We have successfully delivered two of the targets," said Neil Clitheroe, chief executive of Scottish Power Retail & Generation.

"In relation to the target of having zero ombudsman remedies over 28 days, we cleared 2575 cases during November and, at 1 December, the Ombudsman confirmed that we have achieved the zero target.

"However, subsequently it was identified that 30 cases had been closed incorrectly. We sincerely apologise to these customers for these errors.

"The cases were immediately fixed on discovery. In line with our original voluntary commitment and with the agreement of Ofgem, we will now stop outbound selling from 4 March until 15 March."