British Gas Business slapped with £5.6m fine by Ofgem

British Gas, the UK’s leading energy provider, was found guilty of incorrectly blocking businesses customers from switching suppliers and will be forced to pay £5.6m in fines and compensation, a news report in the matter can reveal.

Following an in-depth investigation carried out by energy market regulator Ofgem, British Gas Business was found to be incorrectly blocking business customers from switching to other suppliers.

In fact, between 2007 and 2012, 5.6% of objections made by British Gas Business to business customers who wished to switch suppliers were invalid. Furthermore, specific reasons as to why businesses were being prevented from switching were not communicated and there were no details for customers on how the issues could be resolved.

The group also failed to give 1,200 business customers, most of them micro-businesses, notice that their contract was due to end. As a direct result, many customers did not have the time to look elsewhere for better deals and were effectively forced to continue on the same terms or were rolled over onto standard tariff rates, which cost more than their previous contract.

British Gas has paid almost £1.3m to affected businesses and will pay a further £3.45m into an energy efficiency fund, as well as a £800,000 penalty.

Stephen Beynon, managing director of British Gas Business, said: “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.”

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