UK energy company Bulb to pay £1.76m in refunds and compensation

The company had not complied with rules in three different areas between 2017 and 2020, including overcharging customers

                                

UK energy company Bulb has paid £1.76m in refunds and compensation for its failure to comply with a number of market rules that included overcharging more than 11,000 customers. 

Britain’s energy market regulator Ofgem said that the five-year-old company which has nearly 1.7m customers, had not complied with rules in three different areas between 2017 and 2020, affecting about 61,000 customers. 

It is the third time this year Ofgem has cited problems at one of Britain’s larger “challenger” energy companies. Ovo, which is now the country’s third biggest supplier, paid £8.9m in fines in January and Utility Warehouse paid £650,000 at the start of the year.

Ofgem said Bulb overcharged 11,400 customers who were on “restricted meter infrastructure”, meaning there was more than one meter in their property, by a total of £699,000. 

Around 3,800 consumers with such meters were also blocked from switching to Bulb and missed out on savings. The regulator said Bulb had also mistakenly removed around 46,500 vulnerable customers from a register that offers them priority service if there is a power cut. 

Bulb, which has a 5.7 per cent market share, said it “recently fixed some issues which affected some of our [customers]”. 

Britain’s energy supply market has undergone a significant shake-up in the past 10 years, with a flurry of new companies set up to challenge the former “Big Six” suppliers of British Gas, EDF, Eon, Npower, ScottishPower and SSE. 

The market expanded from 12 companies in 2010 to as many as 70 by 2018 but many smaller suppliers have struggled with the intense competition and thin margins. There are now around 57 suppliers.  

SSE also chose to exit the market at the start of this year, agreeing a £500m deal to sell its British household supply business to Ovo.

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