British Gas customers may have overpaid for yearsBritish Gas pays £10m into trust to settle dispute

19 June 2013

British Gas overcharging

Millions of British Gas customers could have overpaid on their bills between 2006 and 2011, Ofgem has reported this week.

The energy regulator has said that during this time, British Gas calculated a particular type of gas charge in a slightly different way from what Ofgem requires. 

This meant that although customers didn't pay for energy that they didn't use, they paid more than they should have under the regulations, according to Ofgem.

While any customers who were overpaid couldn't have known about it in this particular case, it's always wise to keep an eye on your bills and check that you're not paying too much. You can see our five tips to avoid your energy company overcharging you here. 

British Gas response

In light of Ofgem's clarification, British Gas has donated £10m into a trust fund for vulnerable customers, a figure just slightly short of the fine imposed upon SSE in April for mis-selling. 

A spokesperson from British Gas has insisted that customers have not paid for energy they did not use, and that the donation was being made in recognition of the 'alternative interpretation' of the regulations, and stressed that it was not a fine. 

Ofgem has admitted that the amount that British Gas customers would have been overcharged is 'unclear', but has welcomed the donation.

How British Gas calculated figures

Ofgem said that from 2006 to 2011, British Gas had neglected to round down the calorific value (CV) when calculating customers' bills. 

The CV tells energy companies how much heat you get from the gas supplied  to you, and this determines how much you pay. 

Ofgem asks energy companies to round the CV to one decimal point, yet they said that British Gas had been using four. 

Worries over energy prices

Our most recent Which? Quarterly Consumer Report in April this year showed that energy prices were second to top on the list of consumer worries, with 82% of consumers telling us they were concerned.

 Moreover, our energy company customer satisfaction survey in January saw British Gas ranked 11th out of 15, with a customer satisfaction score of 50%. 

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