Fylde coast energy company BES Utilities has been penalised by watchdog Ofgem over breaches to its licences.
The company, owned by Fleetwood Town FC boss Andy Pilley, has agreed to pay out £980,000 as a result of Ofgem’s investigations.
BES will return around £310,000 to directly affected customers.
The remaining £670,000 will be paid to Business Debtline to support its work with small businesses facing financial difficulty.
The issues found by the regulator included a failure to fully explain important details of customers’ contracts and inadequate processes and procedures to handle customer complaints.
Ofgem said BES Utilities’ subsidiary companies BES Commercial Electricity Ltd and Business Energy Solutions Ltd had at times in the past failed to fully explain the terms of contracts to some micro businesses, blocked some customers who wished to transfer to another supplier, and failed to handle some customer complaints properly.
Today the company said all issues identified by Ofgem have since been resolved and BES will now write to customers affected by the breaches to outline the measures the company will be taking.
Joel Chapman, Head of Regulation and Compliance at BES said: “BES takes customer service and compliance extremely seriously and we apologise sincerely to the customers affected by these issues.
“We have engaged openly with Ofgem, both in the years prior to and throughout the course of this investigation, and we are pleased that the regulator agrees that we have improved our processes.
“Over the last 18 months we have invested heavily in additional staff, processes and IT systems to ensure we not only remain compliant, but deliver a first class level of service.
“This is the first and only investigation by the regulator in BES’s 10-year history and we have learned a number of vital lessons, which will allow us to continue working with Ofgem in an open and transparent manner in the future, while also ensuring that treating customers fairly remains central to our business.
“BES has agreed to repay more than £310,000 to customers directly affected by these problems and will also be paying £670,000 to support Business Debtline’s vital work with small businesses facing financial difficulty.”
A statement on the Ofgem website said: “BES has admitted that it breached the relevant conditions and requirements and has co-operated with the Authority’s investigation.
“BES has made improvements in those areas which are the subject of this investigation.”
It added that there was no finding of a breach in relation to inaccurate billing.