Winning trust gets harder and harder for British Gas

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19 June 2013, Gas, Electricity

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After SSE's record fine for mis-selling, the anger over npower's tax practices, and widespread failures to reach carbon reduction targets, British Gas is the latest Big Six company to come under fire. According to Ofgem, between 2006 and 2011 British Gas failed to round down the "calorific value" of its energy - a charge that refers to the heat or thermal energy in the gas used by a customer, resulting in them possibly paying too much for the energy.

However, this is not an open and shut case, as Ofgem is still "unclear" as to what extent customers were affected by this, if at all. British Gas argues that it has not violated any regulations, but the company is acutely aware of the damage to its brand that will occur if this rolls on. It has donated GBP10m (a very similar amount to SSE's record GBP10.5m fine) to a trust for vulnerable customers - hoping that this will appease Ofgem enough for the issue to go away quietly.

Even though the sums are in the same ballpark as SSE, this offence is not in the same league. SSE's management were found to be turning a blind eye to mis-selling practices, but in British Gas's case it appears it is a matter of misinterpreting small print - an easy mistake to make, albeit one that certainly seems to have been avoidable. / / @DatamonitorEN

Source: MarketLine

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