Ofgem today (July 27) fined British Gas over its handling of complaints following an investigation started in June last year.

The regulator said the fine would serve as a ‘warning’ to the rest of the energy industry to treat all customers fairly.

In its ruling Ofgem found British Gas had failed to re-open complaints when the customer had said the issue was not resolved.

Failed to provide customers, whose complaint they could not resolve, with some key details about the redress service provided by the Energy Ombudsman.

And, British Gas had crucially failed to put in place adequate processes and practices for dealing with complaints from micro-businesses.

Ofgem’s senior partner for sustainable development, Sarah Harrison, said: “Today’s finding highlights basic failures in British Gas’ customer service, particularly in dealing with some of its small business customers.

“And shows Ofgem’s commitment to use its powers to ensure suppliers treat customers fairly and transparently.”

British Gas branded the fine ‘disproportionate’, but Ofgem also accepted it had taken action to improve its complaint handling systems.

Ofgem is currently investigating npower and EDF Energy for complaint handling; ScottishPower, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF Energy and Npower for misselling and undertaking two investigations into Scottish Power for potentially misleading marketing and the difference between its standard credit and direct debit tariffs.

Luke Walsh

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