British Gas suspends force-fitting prepayment meters after investigation

The boss of the owner of British Gas said the allegations around the debt collectors were “unacceptable”

Big Zero Report 2022

Centrica has announced it will halt all warrants issued to force prepayment meter installations following an investigation by The Times.

The energy giant has also said it will complete a “thorough and prompt” investigation of its practices.

A reporter went undercover with agents working for Arvato Financial Solutions, a company used by British Gas to collect debts, and saw forced meter installations in a home of a single father with three children.

After the publication of the report, the Business Secretary and Ofgem said they were “horrified” by the findings of the investigation and arranged an “urgent meeting” with representatives of the British Gas.

Commenting, Centrica Chief Executive Officer Chris O’Shea said, “Protecting vulnerable customers is an absolute priority and we have clear processes and policies to ensure we manage customer debt carefully and safely.

“The allegations around our third-party contractor Arvato are unacceptable and we immediately suspended their warrant activity.

“Having recently reviewed our internal processes to support our prepayment customers as well as creating a new £10 million fund to support those prepayment customers who need help the most, I am extremely disappointed that this has occurred. As a result, on Wednesday morning, we took a further decision to suspend all our prepayment warrant activity at least until the end of the winter.”

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