Utility Warehouse to pay £650,000 for price cap overcharging

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UTILITY Warehouse will refund and compensate 3,430 Warm Home Discount customers with £450,000 after overcharging them due to a system error.

The supplier will pay a further £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund, in recognition of the seriousness of the breach and the impact on potentially vulnerable customers.

In December 2019, Utility Warehouse discovered that 3,430 of its customers who receive the Warm Home Discount payment but pay for their energy when they receive a bill, were paying above the correct default tariff cap level between January and November 2019.

Utility Warehouse quickly self-reported the issue to Ofgem, confirming that an overcharge of £150,000 had occurred.

The supplier’s systems were swiftly updated to correct the issue.

Utility Warehouse is in the process of issuing full refunds to all 3,430 customers who were overcharged, in addition to an extra £300,000 of proactive goodwill payments.

The company will also pay an additional £200,000 into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund.

According to the regulator, suppliers must be vigilant and ensure that customers, including the vulnerable, are treated fairly.

Ofgem’s Enforcement Guidelines strongly encourage companies to promptly self-report potential breaches that may give rise to material harm to consumers, the market or to its ability to regulate.

The total redress package secured by Ofgem reflects ‘the seriousness of the breach, Ofgem’s commitment to protecting the needs of customers who may be likely to be in vulnerable circumstances and a zero-tolerance approach to compliance with the price cap requirements.’

Ofgem has decided not to require a larger overall package or to take formal enforcement action on this occasion.

This is due to the steps Utility Warehouse has taken to report the matter, correct the situation and quickly put in place measures to ensure this issue will not re-occur.

Ofgem spokesperson said: “Ofgem closely monitors all suppliers’ conduct, including their approach to the implementation of the cap and will continue to hold suppliers to account if they do not meet their obligations.”