Ofgem launch investigation into British Gas as debt collectors break into homes to install prepayment meters

Energy regulator Ofgem is launching an investigation into British Gas following allegations the company sent debt collectors who broke into customers’ homes to install prepayment meters.

An investigation into British Gas has alleged that debt collectors, who were employed by a third party organisation working on behalf of the energy company, broke into customers homes to install prepayment meters. The debt collectors are alleged to have ignored customers’ vulnerabilities and signs children were in some of the properties.

Energy regulator Ofgem will be leading the investigation into British Gas and has stressed that getting a court warrant to force-fit a prepayment meter should be a “last resort”.

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Why is British Gas being investigated? 

An investigation by the times alleged that British Gas used debt pursuing company Arvato Solutions, who forced their way into homes to fit prepayment metres. It is alleged the debt collectors ignored signs children and disabled people were living in a property.

How have British Gas responded? 

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, said in a statement that "all warrant activity" had been suspended and that protecting vulnerable customers is an "absolute priority”. Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of Centrica, apologised to customers and said “there is no excuse” for the actions of the debt collectors.

Energy companies are able to obtain court warrants which give them the legal right to enter people’s homes (Photo: Getty Images)Energy companies are able to obtain court warrants which give them the legal right to enter people’s homes (Photo: Getty Images)
Energy companies are able to obtain court warrants which give them the legal right to enter people’s homes (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Who is Ofgem? 

Ofgem, The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, is the government regulator for the electricity and downstream natural gas markets in the UK. Ofgem works to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly by their energy provider.

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