Making money from energy

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Making money from energy


We will look at the Big Six UK energy suppliers, to support the millions of people finding it difficult to pay increasing energy bills. First: Scottish Power.

About Scottish Power

Scottish Power Ltd is the sixth biggest energy supplier in the UK. It controls about 8 per cent of the market and profits from generating energy. It also operates wind farms and many electricity networks across Britain.

Its name is Scottish Power, but Spanish multinational energy company Iberdrola owns the company. Iberdrola is one of the biggest electricity companies in the world. In 2021, when the cost of living crisis began, the managers paid themselves altogether almost £10m, and Scottish Power paid the Iberdrola group over a billion pounds. Iberdrola’s CEO’s salary was at least £5.49m, and Iberdrola shareholders received hundreds of millions.

Iberdrola also has companies in Brazil, US, Mexico, and Spain. The Iberdrola group is expanding its offshore wind farm business globally. It has 40,000 workers worldwide.

Scottish Power gives money to the Tory party, and has a close relationship with the UK government. Company directors include an ex-Conservative minister and an ex-member of the Spanish parliament and World Bank executive.

There are many scandals connected to Scottish Power’s parent company and it has subsidiary companies in a tax haven. How many UK energy customers does Scottish Power have? Electricity (excluding pre-payment): 2.24 million Gas (excluding pre-payment): 1.58 million How much money is it making? Iberdrola had profits of €3.88 billion in 2021 (about £3.42 billion), an increase from €3.61 billion in 2020 (about £3.17 billion). It paid €570m to its shareholders. Scottish Power itself had profits of £102m in 2021, down from £585m in 2020. Its total profit was £4.1 billion in 2021.

The company also made £863.4m from renewable energy, with most of the energy used by Scottish Power’s own customers.

Who runs it?

Scottish Power’s highest paid director is likely to be CEO Keith Anderson. He received £425,000 (up from £383,000 in 2020) in pay, and £69,000 in pension benefits in 2021, plus share benefits. In 2021, Scottish Power’s directors received £1.05 million in pay, an increase from 2020. When we include share payments, the 15 big managers received £9.8 million.

Chair Ignacio Galán is also CEO of parent company Iberdrola. He earned at least £5.49 million in 2021, an increase from 2020.

Harming the most vulnerable customers

In September 2022, energy regulator Ofgem warned Scottish Power about the way it is treating customers with energy debts. Ofgem ordered the company to: • ‘stop disconnections for customers with repayment plans of £5 per week or less.’ • ‘look at and change all phone call training, training materials, policies, communications with customers and train company staff.’ • ‘contact and review all customers with debt repayment plans of £5 per week or less to check customers have enough money to pay.’

The company is also paying 157,236 customers £1.9m after charging them too much when they changed energy supplier or tariff. In April 2022, the Guardian newspaper reported that the company asked one customer to continue paying after he asked to disconnect the gas.

Scottish Power also forced customers to have pre-pay meters in their homes. Energy companies can ask to put pre-pay meters in their homes if people owe money, but not if customers are ‘vulnerable’. Scottish Power customer James Collins said that the company forced him to have a pre-pay meter in his home even after he told them he had diabetes and that he needs electricity all the time to keep his insulin in a fridge.

International scandals

Ignacio Galán appeared before the Spanish High Court in 2022 accused of corporate spying for 15 years. Four Iberdrola executives are under investigation for offering a Spanish police officer money to spy on other companies. The press reported this and the company is trying to silence it. Iberdrola is asking for $20m in damages from Spanish news site El Confidencial after it reported the spying.

In the US, there is a multi-million dollar lawsuit against an Iberdrola subsidiary claiming that the company bought a lot of unnecessary computer equipment at high prices, and passed on costs to its energy customers. The subsidiary said it was not true, and the lawsuit was stopped.

Is the company suffering after limits on energy caps prices?

Scottish Power is still making Iberdrola rich. It repaid £3.5 billion in loans and paid £50.3m in interest to Iberdrola Group companies.

Does the company avoid paying tax?

Iberdrola has US subsidiaries registered in Delaware, a US state that is a tax haven and is famous for its corporate secrecy laws.

Political donations in the UK

Scottish Power has given at least £48,000 to the Conservative Party since 2010. In 2021 the company paid £7,000 to the Conservatives and Labour to pay for receptions at their party conferences.

Does the company have close connections with government?

Scottish Power was part of at least 85 meetings with ministers, and the company was there for at least six meetings with British Prime Ministers over the last ten years.

Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson met Kwasi Kwarteng, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, about the government’s multi-billion pound support for energy companies.

Scottish Power Director Claire O’Neill was a Conservative MP. Later she was Climate Change Minister and then Minister for Energy and Clean Growth. Another director – Jim McDonald – is vice-chancellor of Strathclyde University, Glasgow. Two other directors have links to the university. One, Lesley Anne Glover, was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government and the President of the European Commission.

Director Inigo Fernandez De Mesa was in the Spanish government, including as Secretary of the Treasury. He has been on the board of the Bank of Spain and an Alternate director of the World Bank.


Scottish Power was a ‘Principal Partner’ of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. It partnered the UK government on opening and closing ceremonies, and with events with the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director and leaders of cities from across the UK. Company representatives were also at a breakfast with former US vice-president Al Gore.


(This article is in easier English so it is possible that we changed the words, the text structure, and the quotes.)