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British Gas told to pay £9.5m in compensation for late and incorrect bills

British Gas told to pay £9.5m in compensation for late and incorrect bills

Watchdog orders supplier to repay customers and donate to charity after IT relaunch hit tens of thousands of users.

British Gas has been ordered to pay £9.5m for IT failures that landed business customers with incorrect and late bills.

Poor service also left some customers paying over the odds with other suppliers because of delays in switching to the business arm of the UK’s biggest energy company.

Energy regulator Ofgem said some British Gas users did not receive a bill for up to 18 months and were then hit with large catch-up statements following the launch of a new billing system in 2014. The billing problems affected tens of thousands of its 400,000 business customers with more than 6,000 experiencing delays while switching to British Gas.

Apologising to those affected on Tuesday, the energy supplier agreed to pay £9.5m in compensation to its customers and to the Money Advice Trust, a charity that runs a debt advice line for businesses.

“Many existing business customers were left without accurate bills, causing significant concern. New customers were delayed from switching to the supplier, potentially costing them money by leaving them on a more expensive deal with another supplier,” he said.

British Gas was placed seventh best out of 15 energy companies in a league table of complaints for small business customers last week. The ranking by Citizens Advice found British Gas had 93.2 complaints per 10,000 customers.

The group said it had handled hundreds of complaints from the utility’s business customers including one customer who received 21 gas bills at the same time, totalling £8,000, for a property that did not use gas. In another case, a small business owner was told by British Gas that she had been overpaying and was owed a £1,000 refund. She received the money after a three-month wait, only for the company to then send a letter requesting the same amount back.

Gillian Guy, the Citizens Advice chief executive, said: “It is good that British Gas Business reported its problems to the regulator and has worked to correct them. Energy firms need to plan ahead to minimise the impact of introducing a new billing system on their customers.”

British Gas apologised to its business customers for the billing mistakes, and said the issues had now been resolved.



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