Category Archives: Energy

British Gas | Pays back £6.5 Million

Ofgem’s investigations found that British Gas Businesshad incorrectly blocked business customers from switching to other suppliers and failed to notify customers when their contract was due to expire. In recognition of these failures, British Gas Business is paying £5.6 million in redress and penalty.

Ofgem found that from 2007-2012 around 5.6% of the objections made by British Gas Business to non-domestic customers wanting to switch suppliers were invalid This was caused by errors in British Gas Business’s computer systems, and there being inadequate processes and controls in place to detect when objections to switches were invalid. In addition, they did not properly communicate to customers the reasons for their objections to switching and how customers could resolve this. Ofgem opened the investigation into British Gas in 2012 and they resolved these issues swiftly. British Gas Business will pay an £800,000 penaltyand finance an Energy Efficiency Fund to benefit micro-business customers.

Failed Investigation

In a separate investigation, Ofgem found that British Gas Business failed to give notice to around 1,200 business customers (most of which were micro-businesses) that their tariff was about to expire. This meant that customers were denied the prompt to shop around for a better deal and instead either continued on the same terms or were rolled over onto standard tariff rates, which were more expensive than their previous contract. British Gas Business has already paid back nearly £1.3 million to fully compensate all current customers affected by this issue, and is in the process of contacting and paying back around ,£150,000 to affected customers who have since moved to other suppliers. If they cannot find those customers, the remaining| money will also go into the Energy Efficiency Fund.

Sarah Harrison, Ofgem Senior Partner in charge of enforcement said: “The ability for consumers to switch easily and fairly is key to a well-functioning energy market. In these cases British Gas Business failed these consumers who were wrongly blocked from switching, many of them small businesses, and denied others the chance to switch to a better deal at the end of their contract.

“British Gas Business fully accepts its failings, has stopped the practices and corrected its processes to prevent this happening again. The company has taken responsibility for its actions and this package strikes a balance of penalty for the company and redress for affected consumers.”
British Gas Business cooperated fully throughout these investigations and this has been reflected in the level of the settlement package, which would have been much higher if this had not been the case.

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Energy ~ Third Party Intermediaries!

This is an often asked question by many business owners, usually followed, by ‘oh but they charge a lot of money’. First of all, lets explain what a TPI ( Third Party Intermediary) is. He/she or indeed it may be a company act as a go between, between you and the energy company.

They are specialists in their roles and know the energy market really well, plus more importantly have excellent relationships with either a select few, the big 6, or in a tiny handful of cases, the entire energy market place, it is that relationship which works for and on your behalf to secure you the best deal possible, thanks to their specialist knowledge and relationship with the chosen supplier.

TPIs, will rarely charge any fees for their work, unless of course it is a unique case, instead they receive a commission from the energy company, who they place your business with. This commission is usually ongoing for the life of your energy contract.

How do you know who is a good TPI? ~ Well, as with all cases, there are the good, the bad and the downright ugly out there, but as a general rule of thumb, you should choose one, that is approved by the Utilities Intermediary Association ( UIA).

By doing this, you can gain confidence from the fact that you have cover, should anything go wrong for you during the energy process or your relationship breaks down with them.The UIA has a strict code of practice and Ethics, when it comes to energy processes, that each member has to abide by, or they are not accepted.

Using TPIs with access to the entire energy market place and knowledge of how it works, will save your business a considerable some of money, both now and moving forward.

Smart Meters ~ Residential

What are Smart Meters? ~ Its a device which will be provided by your energy supplier that will sit in your house (the short name is IHD) and act as a two way communicatior of your energy consumption, by feeding information to your supplier.

Why do you need one?

Its is part of the governments promise to make residential energy bills lower and perhaps more importantly, to help cut down or cut out the issues of ‘Estimated‘ bills, which lead to excessive high bills.

How much do they cost

Nothing to you as a residential user, they are part of the Governments role out of these devices to be completed by 2019

NB: Smart meters are stand along devices, which cost nothing for you to install, however some utility providers are encouraging their customers to get a ‘free’ meter, by switching to their cheapest tariff~ Don’t be fooled by this, when there are over 40 different residential tariffs to choose from. you need the one that will benefit you most

How much will you save?

This will of course all depend on consumption, but you should definately see an improvement in your current bill

How do you get one

Your current supplier, will write to you and advise you how to obtain one and will explain how to fit it.

Energy ~ Overbilling refund success!

Have you ever had an energy statement come through your letter box and thought, that doesn’t look ‘quite right’? ~ Have you ever queried it?

In light of the recent statement, published by Ofgem, we thought it would be useful to highlight, some recent successes we have had on behalf of clients of ours, simply where we have asked questions, they were thinking about and… as a result have had successes in reclaiming money on their behalf, that their energy company’s had kept quiet about. They are highlighted below

*Littlehampton ~ Pub, over £450 from Eon

*Littlehampton ~ Pub, over £1800 from Haven

*Littlehampton ~ Pub, over £8,000 from British Gas, as a result of Billing errors

*Arundel~ Restaurant. Refund of over £950 from Eon

*Bognor~ Butchers, 3 seperate refunds, from different suppliers, amounting to over £230 from Scottish Power and Eon

*Bognor ~ Gift Shop, Refund of over £240 for billing for a non existent gas meter

These are just some of our success, obtained by ‘taking a look’ at the business concerned accounts. Our free service is on a no win, no fee basis and obtained by asking the ‘right’ questions, in the ‘right’ way.

Why not, have a free account validation report and let us see what we can find for you.

Energy ~ £400 Million plus, Held!

Ofgem, has called on suppliers to take action over £400 Million they hold in closed accounts.

It has been revealed that large suppliers hold balances from closed energy accounts of at least

*£200 Million from former domestic customers &

*£204 Million from business customers.

There are around 3.5 Million household accounts and around 300,000 business accounts affected. These figures are based on the last 6 years data supplied by the suppliers.

From 31st March 2014, new rules come into force, meaning the 6 largest suppliers & the largest independent generators will have to trade fairly with Independent suppliers in the wholesale market, or face stiff penalties, under ofgems, current Retail Market Review