British Gas has been fined £2.5 million by its regulator over a breach of customer complaint handling regulations.
Energy sector regulator Ofgem found that the energy giant had failed to re-open complaints when the customer had “indicated that the complaint was not resolved.”
The investigation also found that British Gas had failed to furnish dissatisfied customers with details about the Energy Ombudsman’s services.
Additionally, Ofgem ruled that under British Gas’ current system, the complaints procedure for small businesses is inadequate.
The company was fined £1m earlier this month for misreporting the amount of gas supplied to business customers.
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s senior partner for sustainable development, said: “This £2.5 million fine against British Gas, and the other £10 million of fines imposed on the energy industry so far this year, sends a clear message to energy companies that they must abide by the rules.”
British Gas described the fine as “totally disproportionate” to the failing itself, and reportedly undertook to clean up its complaints procedure whilst the Ofgem investigation was ongoing.
According to a statement from Ofgem: “[the regulator] is currently investigating Npower and EDF Energy for complaint handling; Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF Energy and Npower for misselling; and is undertaking two investigations into Scottish Power for potentially misleading marketing and the difference between its Standard Credit and Direct Debit Tariffs.”
The crackdown began after complaint-handling regulations came into effect in 2008.
British Gas owner Centrica has reported operating profits of £1.3bn in the six months to 30 June, down 19% on the same period last year.
The results include a 54% fall in operating profits for British Gas itself, down to £270m, blamed on higher wholesale gas prices.