British Gas fined

British Gas fined for incorrect objections to gas and electricity switches

So today Ofgem announced they have fined British Gas Business £5.6m for objecting to some of their business customers trying to move to another supplier. They were also reprimanded for failing to give customers notice that their contract was about to end, a common complaint from business owners in general, not just from British Gas customers.

Ofgem investigates British Gas

The offences occurred between 2007 and 2012, where more than 5% of British Gas objections to the transfer of supply, were deemed to have been invalid. As we occasionally find in our dealings with energy companies, British Gas could not give a satisfactory reason why they were objecting. They did not communicate any reasons to customers who were trying to switch, presumably to a cheaper supplier. And furthermore, gave no indication how the customer could resolve the situation.

From our experience, it is not just British Gas who are at fault, a lot of energy companies in the business market have similar faults. Perhaps there are more fines to come?

Breakdown of fine

£3.45m to be paid into an energy efficiency fund
£1.3m to businesses who had incorrect objections raised, so they couldn’t switch energy supplier
£800,000 penalty
£150,000 to businesses who did finally manage to switch supplier

Comment on the decision

Ofgem acknowledged that British Gas Business had been helpful at every step of the investigation, and this was reflected in the level of the fine. Sarah Harrison, a senior partner at Ofgem said,

“the ability for customers to switch easily and fairly is key to a well-functioning energy market”.

The response from British Gas Business came from its managing director, Stephen Beynon,

“We’re sorry these errors occurred and have worked swiftly to change our computer systems and processes, putting controls in place to stop this happening again.

“We take any failure to meet our obligations very seriously and will ensure that the new energy efficiency fund we have set up will be a real help to hundreds of small businesses.”

 

Perfect Clarity can help businesses save money on their energy and water contracts. Call 020 3372 6517 for more information.