Almost 4,000 domestic customers of British Gas are to be moved to a new supplier against their wishes, the company claimed last night in a row with rival Eastern Natural Gas over the workings of the emerging competitive market. British Gas Trading (BGT), the supply arm of the demerged Centrica group, said it had been told by Eastern that the 3,750 households had signed forms agreeing to switch supplier, but were unlikely to want to go through with the process. BGT said it would meet Eastern on Thursday to complain about the problem. .
Eastern had been asked by the industry regulator to contact prospective customers following complaints about heavy-handed doorstep selling tactics. Eastern said there was no evidence that the customers would want to switch back to British Gas. "It's all pretty hypothetical," said a spokesman.