Ofgem orders Big Six energy firms to return £400m to former customers

Companies hold at least £202 million from former domestic customers

Ofgem has called on energy suppliers to return money to former customers after finding that the companies hold more than £400 million in credit from closed accounts.

Ofgem said it considers this the minimum sum accumulated by the providers over the past six years and could affect 3.5 million consumers and 300,000 business customers.

The regulator estimates that the suppliers, which include British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power, hold at least £202 million from former domestic customers and at least £204 million from old business accounts.

“When many people are struggling to make ends meet, it is vital that energy companies do the right thing and do all they can to return this money and restore consumer trust,” said Andrew Wright, interim chief executive of Ofgem.

The regulator added: “We are looking at whether suppliers’ current policies and practices relating to giving money to individual customers are fully compliant with existing rules, including those requiring companies to treat consumers fairly.

"Our advice to consumers who believe they may still be owed money by a previous supplier is to contact the company directly and ask for it back.”

Wright said: "We want to see decisive action by suppliers, individually and collectively, to address this issue and, wherever possible, to ensure that the balances they currently hold are returned to consumers.

"Where this can’t be done, any remaining sums should be used to benefit consumers more generally, and suppliers need to be very clear with consumers about what they will be doing with this money."

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