Centrica launches £182m lawsuit against Accenture

The energy giant Centrica has launched a writ against the consultancy group Accenture, demanding £182m in damages after the alleged failure of an IT system which Accenture built and installed for Centrica's British Gas division.

Centrica claims that problems with the IT system were at the root of a collapse in British Gas's customer service levels during 2006 and 2007 – a breakdown that cost the company thousands of customers. In 2006 alone, the group is estimated to have lost 1 million customers.

The company claims that it can trace the root of the problems back to the installation of a new IT system by Accenture, known as "Project Jupiter", which it was hired to create and install in 2001. Accenture vigorously denies the accusations, describing them as "baseless and without merit". Centrica said: "In 2001, British Gas employed Accenture to undertake the design and implementation of a new customer billing system. However, when this new system was rolled out during 2006-07, it became apparent that there were problems with the system which severely impacted on British Gas's customer service operations.

"A subsequent independent analysis of the billing system has concluded that Accenture was responsible for fundamental errors in the design and implementation of the system. As a direct consequence, British Gas was forced to make significant investments to address the system failures and these investments are ongoing. It also incurred significant additional staff costs to manage the customer service issues."

A spokesperson for Accenture said it had met all the commitments and specifications set by Centrica, and had delivered the project on time and within budget. It added that Centrica had also conducted extensive testing of the new system before formally accepting it.

"Accenture rejects responsibility for the situation Centrica created," an Accenture spokes-man said. "Centrica directed the design, build and implementation of the Jupiter system and insisted on many of the features they now find problematic. At their own choice, after extensive testing, in March 2006, Centrica took over total control over all aspects of the system about which they now complain and has operated the system themselves for over two years.

"Centrica is only trying to shift blame for a situation it created."

Centrica paid a total of £317m for the implantation of the system.

Meanwhile, British Gas is expected to update consumers on rocketing wholesale gas prices at its annual general meeting today. It is thought that gas bills could go up by another 30 per cent this year due to the continued increase in wholesale prices.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003