British Gas has agreed to pay £9.5m in compensation to customers after a faulty billing system gave tens of thousands of business customers incorrect bills.
The company reported itself to energy regulator Ofgem in 2014 after implementation of its new £40m system didn't go to plan, causing late and inaccurate bills, registration delays and a high number of poorly handled complaints.
Ofgem’s chief executive Dermot Nolan said British Gas didn't act quickly enough to correct its mistakes.
"Ofgem welcomes suppliers investing in new systems and recognises that this can be challenging. However the £9.5m payment also sends a strong reminder to all energy companies that they must treat consumers fairly at all times, including while new systems are put in place."
Following the conclusion of Ofgem's report, British Gas said the issue is now resolved and customer satisfaction has improved.
Gab Barbaro, managing director of British Gas Business, said:
"We’ve worked hard to put this right since and Ofgem has acknowledged this today. We’ve restored a very good quality of customer service, and more and more of our customers are going online to use the new billing system. I'd like to apologise to our business customers for any inconvenience caused when we were implementing the system.”
British Gas said it will directly contact the customers Ofgem identified as being affected by the issues.
Its £9.5m compensation includes direct payments to affected microbusiness customers and payments to the charity the Money Advice Trust, which provides the Business Debtline service, to help energy consumers in need.