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British Gas Fined £2.5m Over Customer Complaints

By Katie Anderson on July 27, 2011

Energy regulator Ofgem has handed British Gas a £2.5 million fine for failing to handle customer complaints efficiently.

Ofgem’s investigation highlighted “basic failures” with the way British Gas dealt with its customer service, particularly that the energy provider failed to re-open cases when customers had indicated that their complaint remained unresolved. The company was found to be lacking in its service by failing to give those customers information about resolution services provided by the Energy Ombudsman.

The investigation also concluded that British Gas also lacked adequate processes for dealing with complaints from micro-businesses.

British Gas said the findings by Ofgem were “totally disproportionate” but did admit it failed on the issue of dealing with so-called micro businesses.

Commenting on the fine handed out to the energy supplier, Ofgem’s Sarah Harrison said: “We warned the industry in March that we would be backing up our plans to reform the retail market with a tough approach to enforcement.”

British Gas isn’t the only energy provider to have been brought to task over their standards of customer service. Ofgem is also investigating Npower and EDF Energy for complaint handling, while Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, Npower and EDF Energy are being investigated for mis-selling.

This is the second time British Gas has been fined this month, having received a £1 million penalty at the beginning of July for misreporting the amount of electricity supplied under the government’s Renewables Obligation.