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British Gas landed with £2.5m fine

Energy company accused of inadequately handling customer complaints.

Ofgem, the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, has fined British Gas £2.5m for inadequate customer care. According to the industry regulator, the energy company's failure to carry through with customer complaints, insufficient procedures for small business complaints and inadequate provision of information from the energy ombudsman are not acceptable.

This is the second fine British Gas has received from Ofgem this month. At the start of July, the company incurred a £1m fine over its misreporting of its renewables figures.

British Gas has responded to the most recent fine, saying it is "totally disproportionate" to the issue. Ofgem, however, are adamant that the energy company must resolve some fundamental problems:

Today's finding highlights basic failures in British Gas' customer service, particularly in dealing with some of its small business customers.

Later this week, Centrica - the owner of British Gas - is due to announce its interim results for the first half of 2011. It is believed that its operating profits are significantly down compared with the same period in 2010.

Tess Riley is a freelance journalist and social justice campaigner. She also works, part time, for Streetbank, and can be found on Twitter at @tess_riley