Eastern Gas is cleared of allegations, says regulator

OFGAS yesterday said its investigation into Eastern Natural Gas (Retail) Ltd has cleared the company of allegations of fraudulent behaviour and added that it will not confirm a provisional order placed on Northern Electric earlier in the year. Ofgas investigated both Eastern Natural Gas and Northern Electric following media reports alleging high-pressure doorstep sales techniques. "Eastern has given formal voluntary undertakings to the regulator that it will improve its methods of recruiting and training sales representatives and the way in which it conducts after-sales audits," Ofgas said. It added that it has asked Eastern to review the payment methods available to customers in the North-west of England.

Ofgas said it has also reviewed the action taken by Northern Electric following the imposition of a provisional order on the company in March. The remedial action taken by the company has satisfied Ofgas that it is not necessary for the order to be confirmed, it said. Commenting on the two investigations, Ofgas director general of gas supply, Claire Spottiswoode said: "Our latest figures show that the number of complaints on doorstep selling peaked at the end of March and declined by almost 40 per cent in April. This is good news and shows that the new marketing condition which Ofgas added to the supply licence this year, is having an effect.