gas cooker
Image Source: Armin Gruber
Energy regulator Ofgem found that British Gas failed to notify around 270,000 prepayment customers about a change of top-up provider which went live on January 1 this year.
Jane Imrie

British Gas avoids Ofgem action with £1.73m voluntary payout for prepayment failings

Utilities giant British Gas has paid out £1.73m after being found to have failed to inform customers of changes to its pre-payment system.

Energy regulator Ofgem found that British Gas failed to notify around 270,000 prepayment customers about a change of top-up provider which went live on January 1 this year.

In addition, the firm did not operate its general enquiries line on the go-live date, leaving customers without a point of contact.

When asked for information relating to the case, British Gas agreed to make compensation payments of £1.48m to impacted customers, as well as pay £250k to Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund administered by the Energy Savings Trust.

Philippa Pickford, director of retail at Ofgem, commented: “When such a fundamental change is being made, such as where meters can be topped up, energy suppliers need to communicate with their customers in plenty of time.

“British Gas should have informed all of their prepayment customers, many whom are in vulnerable situations, of the change to how to top-up their meters during the winter period.

“Some customers were unaware of the change before it happened and may have struggled to contact British Gas as they opted not to open their general enquiries line on the go live date. Others were given insufficient time to make alternative arrangements if they were unhappy with the change of top-up provider.”

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