British Gas Business pays out £9.5 million after new billing system hits customer service

British Gas Business is to pay £9.5 million in redress for failings in its registrations, complaints handling and billing processes for its 400,000 business customers. It will make direct payments to affected micro-business customers, and payments to the charity the Money Advice Trust (which provides the Business Debtline service) to help energy consumers in need.

The problems arose after it installed a new billing system in March 2014. Tens of thousands of its business customers were left with delayed and inaccurate bills and over 6,000 new customers experienced delays registering. It handled the surge of complaints badly.

After initial problems emerged, British Gas Business compensated some affected customers, acted to reduce levels of delayed bills and contacted customers to explain problems with the billing system. Ofgem said British Gas Business has since improved its service for affected business customers. It hired 350 specialist agents to help handle increased call volumes and a backlog of open complaints. It has also significantly improved its performance on billing and customer registrations.