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Domestic Energy (Mis-Selling)

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases of energy sales mis-selling there were in each local authority area in the last year for which figures are available; if she will list for each authority the total number of incidents; and if she will make a statement on energy sales mis-selling. [112983]

From April 2002 to March 2003, the Gas and Electricity Consumer Council (Energywatch) received 109,500 complaints, of which 12,954 were about mis-selling to domestic consumers. Energywatch does not collect figures on a local authority basis. The complaints received by its regional offices were:

Regional officeNumber of complaints
Central2,501
Southern1,324
London and South East3,367
North West2,007
North East2,015
Scotland897
Wales843
I have made it clear to the industry that it must address the continuing problems of mis-selling. Over the past year, it has made considerable efforts to do so, and has introduced the EnergySure staff training scheme and a Code of Practice on direct selling. The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), which regulates the sales activities of energy suppliers, may take investigative and enforcement action, including levying financial penalties, against any supplier that breaches the terms of its supply licence. In November 2002, Ofgem fined London Electricity £2 million for mis-selling under its own brand aid that of Virgin Energy.