TWO PROTESTS are being staged outside ScottishPower's Scottish headquarters today after concerns that nearly £7bn of dividends has gone to its foreign owners.

It comes as new Survation research shows that 82,633 (13%) of residents in and round Glasgow are not able to pay their household bills this year.

Campaigners and trade unionists will stage a major protest outside Scottish Power on Friday afternoon over what they called "unfettered profiteering and a broken economy" the day before energy prices soar. The demonstration is due to last two hours from noon.

ScottishPower has expressed disappointment at the protest saying they invest more in UK energy projects than they make in profit or dividends in every single year.

A smaller demonstration orchestrated through campaign group Action for Scotland is being scheduled at the St Vincent Street headquarters for around 11.30am.

It comes after the Herald revealed that ScottishPower which has been pushing for a taxpayer-backed £100bn fund to help energy firms freeze energy bills has handed over nearly £7bn in dividends to its foreign owners since being taken over.

The payout bonanza to its Spanish owners, Iberdrola over its 14 years of control of the Glasgow-based company has was revealed as its high profile chief executive Keith Anderson has seen his pay soar by £200,000 to £1.35m in a year. Six years previously, Scottish Power Limited's highest paid director was getting almost half that at £687,000.

HeraldScotland: CEO of ScottishPower Renewables Keith Anderson.  Photographed at Whitelee Wind Farm.Pictures by Chris James 2/5/12.

ScottishPower's dividend payments to Iberdrola have amounted to nearly one billion pounds in the past two years.

From Saturday the price cap for the average annual household energy bill will rise from rise to £2,500 - nearly twice as much as last winter.

The cap, frozen by the government, determines cost per unit, but bills are calculated by how much energy is used.

The government announced the energy price cap would be frozen until 2024, in an effort to limit soaring energy costs.

It means that bills for an average household - one that uses 12,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of gas a year, and 2,900 kWh of electricity a year - will not rise above £2,500.

The Unite union, which is heading up the protest, have raised concerns over the dividends and has registered disgust that Big 4 energy providers - Centrica, E.ON, EDF and Scottish Power - made combined £9.5 billion profit in 2021, up 84% on 2019.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The economy does not work for workers and their families. Britain’s real crisis isn’t rising prices, it’s an epidemic of unfettered profiteering. This is why we need to build power in our workplaces and simultaneously organise in our communities. Unite will establish permanent bases on the ground in Glasgow to work with workers. Unite is driving a UK-wide strategy to help bring change to ‘heartland’ communities.”

Survation research for Unite across seven Glasgow consituencies found almost a quarter, 24% or 152,553 residents in the Glasgow seats polled were living in food poverty.

HeraldScotland: .. (Image: .)

The polling also revealed that 177,979 or (28%) of residents in Glasgow constituencies have either gone into debt or increased their levels of debt in order to meet the increased cost of grocery items.

A ScottishPower spokesperson said: “As a business employing thousands in high skilled, high paid green jobs, where our employees – including Unite members – share in our success, we’re disappointed by the union’s action today.

“This wilful misrepresentation fails to recognise we invest more in UK energy projects than we make in profit or dividends every single year. We’re building the renewable and electricity network infrastructure that will help wean this country off expensive fossil fuels and are creating a record number of jobs to help us do it – even in this difficult economic climate, not to mention having led the call for Government action on the cost of living crisis.

“We stand for £10bn investment in the UK to 2025, delivering on the action needed to tackle climate change and investing in people, with 1,000 new jobs to be created in the next 12 months to help deliver our ambitious investment pipeline. We reiterate to Unite that we welcome constructive engagement.”

Members of Scottish Resistance and other activists have carried out periodic protest at the energy company's headquarters during the summer in protests over rising energy prices.  

In August police they stormed into the offices in a short demonstration carrying posters and banners.  The protesters left on the request of the police.