Ofgas urged to curb Eastern Natural

Sue Slipman, director of the Gas Consumers Council, is calling on the regulator Ofgas to suspend Eastern Natural Gas from signing any new customers after the GCC was swamped with complaints by consumers whose gas supply had been wrongly transferred to Eastern.

Scotland and the North-east of England opened to free gas supply competition at the beginning of this month.

Since then, the GCC has received 125 complaints from customers in these areas who initially signed up with Eastern, but changed their minds and cancelled their contracts, and stayed with British Gas or with another supplier.

The customers received letters from Eastern confirming the cancellation, but were transferred to Eastern anyway.

“We told Ofgas that if this process is happening in large numbers, Eastern ought to put right the technical problem in its systems. It should not confirm any more contracts until it has sorted it out,” says Slipman.

The problem is thought to stem from a glitch in Eastern’s databases. Although Eastern was unavailable for comment, it has admitted it is transferring some 700 customers a week to its books against their wishes.

An Ofgas spokesman says he is unaware of Slipman’s demands, but Slipman says Ofgas agrees Eastern should stop signing customers until it has solved the problem.

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