British Gas hits back over record fine from Ofgem

Big six face grilling

Energy company apologises over handling of complaints but says punishment is 'disproportionate'

LAST UPDATED AT 13:43 ON Wed 27 Jul 2011

British Gas has hit back after being fined a record £2.5m fine by Ofgem over its customer complaints procedure, describing the punishment as 'disproportionate'.

The energy company was ordered to pay up after a year-long investigation by the regulator which concluded that it had breached rules on how firms should handle disputes. Ofgem said the punishment should be seen as a warning to companies that customer complaints should be taken seriously.

 

While British Gas admitted that it had made mistakes in some areas, particularly in its handling of complaints from micro-businesses, it said it felt it was being harshly treated.

 

The Ofgem investigation concluded that some unhappy customers were not given enough information about the energy ombudsman service. A spokeswoman said: "Ofgem's finding us in breach on a minor point when we have 16 million accounts, is, we feel, totally disproportionate to the issue."

 

But the company also apologised and said "we are now confident we meet all of our regulatory requirements".

 

Ofgem is also carrying out investigations into Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF Energy and npower.

 

Read a full report at the Guardian. · 

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