British Gas pays compensation to misled customers, charity

LONDON Fri Jul 4, 2014 10:35am BST

A gas cooker is seen in Boroughbridge, northern England in this November 13, 2012 file photograph.    REUTERS/Nigel Roddis/Files

A gas cooker is seen in Boroughbridge, northern England in this November 13, 2012 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis/Files

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LONDON (Reuters) - British Gas, Britain's largest energy supplier owned by utility Centrica, has paid around 4,000 customers and a charity 1 million pounds for misleading savings promises on its energy tariffs, regulator Ofgem said on Friday.

The energy supplier made exaggerated promises on energy bill savings to customers in Sainsbury's supermarkets and Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush between February 2011 and March 2013, the regulator said.

It also failed to properly label its energy tariffs sold through the Sainsbury's brand.

British Gas has paid an average of 130 pounds to affected customers and is paying another 434,000 pounds to its British Gas Energy Trust which helps people struggling to pay their bills.

"Ofgem expects all suppliers to put this poor behaviour behind them and really start acting in a way that will help consumers trust energy suppliers," said Sarah Harrison, Ofgem's senior partner in charge of enforcement.

The regulator said it refrained from opening a formal investigation into the incident because British Gas voluntarily took action once it became aware of it.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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