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Poor communications, putting customers at risk of losing energy supply, is “unacceptable”, says Citizens Advice

27 August 2020

Citizens Advice, in its role as the official consumer watchdog for energy consumers, has responded to Ofgem’s announcement of a £1.73 million fine for British Gas for failing to notify around 270,000 prepayment customers about a change of top-up provider.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“It is unacceptable that poor communications put people at risk of being cut off from their energy supply in the middle of winter. 

“Households with pre-payment meters are disproportionately likely to be on lower incomes, have children or include people with health conditions. So it’s critical that suppliers take extra care and make sure changes like this don’t put people at risk.

“At a time of significant change in the energy market as suppliers merge and takeovers are completed, this case shows the importance of clear communications and good customer service. All suppliers should learn lessons from this case.”

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.
  2. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
  3. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
  4. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.
  5. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit
  7. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.
  8. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.