Suppliers could now pay up to £10k over complaints

The maximum amount of cash the energy Ombudsman can dish out to consumers in the small claims court will go up to £10,000 today. The Ombudsman handles complaints from domestic […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The maximum amount of cash the energy Ombudsman can dish out to consumers in the small claims court will go up to £10,000 today.

The Ombudsman handles complaints from domestic energy users and micro-businesses on gas and electricity supply. It says this means consumers can now take larger claims to courts in England and Wales.

The company which is approved by regulator Ofgem has previously been able to hand out awards of as much as £5,000 although usually it gives out much smaller amounts. A typical sum is £135.

Cases range from squabbles about bill overcharges to complaints about an energy company withdrawing a higher payment via direct debit without giving prior notification.

Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “We welcome the increase in cash limit awards in small claims courts. The limit had not changed since 2000 so it is fair that consumers now have greater protection.

“As an expert dispute resolution service that provides consumers with an alternative to the courts we have changed our awards to bring us in line with the civil courts.”