ENERGY giant Npower has been fined a whopping £26 million after sending out inaccurate bills to customers and failing to handle two million complaints.
The penalty — the largest to hit one of the Big Six — will be split between charities and the worst-affected customers of the blunders that occurred between September 2013 and December last year.
It’s more than double the £12 million levied against E.On in July last year for mis-selling energy. Ofgem said problems arose after Npower introduced a new IT system in 2011 which issued more than 500,000 late and inaccurate bills that did not fully explain how totals were calculated.
It added that Npower “often failed to resolve these issues promptly, pursued debts which were in dispute and failed to keep its own commitments to customers on billing.”
But the colossal fine is just “an attempt to justify the current neoliberal agenda,” said Campaign for Public Ownership director Neil Clark.
He told the Star: “Don’t be fooled by this effort to gain brownie points with consumers.
“The energy companies and Ofgem — which has been totally toothless in handling complaints — are worried about the new challenges against the private energy sector.
“This would never have happened without Labour’s Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn responding to public opinion about renationalising energy.
“If we stop campaigning now, it would be disastrous.”
Npower has been slapped with improvement targets for billing and complaints and — if it fails them — it will be banned from “proactive domestic sales activity” and advertising until the targets are met.
Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: “It’s important that all suppliers ensure they follow the principles of treating customers fairly at all times,” he added.