BIG six energy giant EDF offered £3 million to a charity yesterday after being caught dodging calls from thousands of angry customers.
The French state-owned firm recorded a staggering 30 per cent more complaints due to IT chaos between May 2011 and January 2012.
Energy regulator Ofgem found helpline waiting times were so long that many customers hung up the phone.
And when customers did get through, the company’s crashing computer system meant their complaints were not dealt with until days later.
Ofgem enforcement officer Sarah Harrison said: “EDF Energy failed to have sufficiently robust processes in place when they introduced a new IT system and this led to the unacceptable handling of complaints.”
Ms Harrison added EDF’s donation to the Citizen Advice Bureau’s switching advice service will help “vulnerable customers.”
But shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said the episode showed it was Ofgem that’s lost consumer confidence.
“It is right that EDF are fined after such poor treatment of their customers,” she said.
“But this is yet another example of the big energy companies are failing their customers.
“That is why we would replace Ofgem with a new regulator with the powers to revoke energy companies’ licenses where there are repeated, serious and deliberate breaches of their licence conditions and which harm the interests of consumers.”
Ms Flint pledged to scrap Ofgem as part of Labour’s bid to freeze energy prices in a speech in Reading on Thursday.
Average annual profits for the big six soared from £233 million in 2009 to £1.1 billion in 2012 on Ofgem’s watch.