MONDAY 25 MARCH 2013, 10.00 AM
Bourges/Viersen Room - Town Hall
Contact – Alexander.firstname.lastname@example.org, 01733 452447
The PCC Cabinet is seeking to exclude both Press and Public from parts of its next cabinet meeting, and for several very good reasons, in addition the PCC wants to enter into an exclusive no-competition 'strategic agreement' with British Gas part of CENTRICA.
Could this be the very same gas company that had been fined £2.5m by Ofgem for failing to deal properly with customer complaints? Not a word of the massive fine, and the year long OFGEM investigation appears to be included in the document to be discussed by Cabinet, so we have included the excellent report carried by The Guardian and links to a few of the supporting documents The strategic agreement would also highlight /target vulnerable customers including the old, infirm, disabled, social housing and private landlords ...
The fine follows a year-long investigation into the company which found it breached regulations on how energy companies should handle disputes. No wonder the dear leader Marco wants to keep that under his
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The Strategic Partnership Agreement is not a contract for the supply of goods, works and
services, and the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (as amended) (“the Regulations”) do
not therefore apply to it. Similarly, the Contract for procurement of ECO works would also
fall outside the Regulations, providing the works are fully funded by British Gas, because it
would then not be a contract for consideration.
9.2.2 The Strategic Partnering Agreement is a two year agreement to work together to identify
any projects relating to energy Green Deal, ECO and fuel efficiency. The intention is that
where a project is identified, the Council will consider the viability of the project (as well as
consider the procurement status of the contract) and run a procurement competition if
necessary. If a project is considered to be of interest and the procurement rules do not
apply, the Council’s role is limited to promotion of the scheme.
9.2.3 This relationship is designed to be exclusive, i.e. the Council is not permitted to promote similar projects in conjunction with another energy supplier. That said, a supplier is not prevented from making contact with residents in Peterborough directly.
9.2.4 The ECO works contract is one of the projects envisaged under the strategic agreement, in
light of British Gas’s Energy Company Obligation. The Council will not be paying for any of
the works carried out under this agreement; nor will the beneficiaries of the work (i.e. the
residents) be liable for the works carried out. It is not envisaged that other works will be
carried out to properties at the same time.
7. Strategic Partnering with British Gas*
145 - 150
EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC
In accordance with standing orders, Members are asked to determine whether the exempt
annex relating to item 6, Risk Based Verification Policy which, in accordance with
Paragraph 7 of Schedule 12(a) Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1972 contains
information relating to the prevention of crime, should be exempt and the press and public
excluded from the meeting when it is discussed, or whether the public interest in disclosing
this information outweighs the public interest in maintaining the exemption.
8. Risk Based Verification Policy*
151 - 174
Form The Guardian Newspaper http://gu.com/p/3vzk4/tw
British Gas believes that its regulator is disproportionate in finding the company in breach of regulations relating to customer complaints.
The energy company has been fined £2.5m by Ofgem for failing to deal properly with customer complaints. The fine follows a year-long investigation into the company which found it breached regulations on how energy companies should handle disputes.
• British Gas failed to re-open complaints from customers who indicated they felt the matter was not resolved adequately.
• It failed to provide sufficient information to complainants about the energy ombudsman service.
• It failed to deal properly with complaints from micro-businesses because it had not implement the necessary processes and practices.
Ofgem said the fine should be regarded as a warning that all energy companies must take complaint handling seriously and treat their customers fairly. Complaint handling by npower and EDF Energy is currently under scrutiny by the watchdog.
A spokeswoman for British Gas said the company accepted the criticism about its handling of micro-business compaints. But the company felt that finding it in breach of rules for failing to provide adequate information to consumers about the energy ombudsman was "disproportionate to the mistake". [Referece to the OFGEM fine is buried away on Page 1 right hand column http://www.centrica.com/files/pdf/centcr11_Stakeholder_matrix.pdf
The spokeswoman said the company had failed to provide information in sufficient places about the ombudsman to customers making complaints, but added: "It didn't prevent anyone getting the redress they needed."
In a statement, British Gas said: "At British Gas, we look after half the homes in Britain and we take great pride in our customer service. Recently, Consumer Focus awarded British Gas the top four-star rating for complaint handling and we've won European call centre of the year for the last two years. Therefore Ofgem's finding us in breach on a minor point when we have 16m accounts, is, we feel, totally disproportionate to the issue.
"However, specifically for our micro-business customers, we acknowledge our service fell short of what they should expect from British Gas, for which we apologise. We knew we had an issue here which is why we flagged it to Ofgem. After a £4m investment, we are now confident we meet all of our regulatory requirements".
Ofgem is also investigating Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF Energy and npower for misselling and is carrying out two investigations into Scottish Power for potentially misleading marketing and the difference between its standard credit and direct debit tariffs.
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem's senior partner for sustainable development, said: "We warned the industry in March that we would be backing up our plans to reform the retail market with a tough approach to enforcement. This £2.5m fine against British Gas, and the other £10m of fines imposed on the energy industry so far this year, sends a clear message to energy companies that they must abide by the rules."
Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at watchdog Consumer Focus, welcomed the fine: "Frustrating the attempts of customers to get complaints sorted out is unacceptable. It adds to the lack of trust in energy companies and it denies British Gas important insight into customer service problems.
"The importance a company gives to solving customer complaints is a good indication of how much they value their customers. British Gas deserve some credit for being open about its failures and taking action to put them right. But the experience of its customers when they make a complaint in the future will be the real test."
This is the second time this month British Gas has been fined by Ofgem. British Gas Business was penalised £1m after the regulator's investigation found the company had misreported the amount of electricity supplied under the government's renewables obligation. British Gas claims it spotted the problem – it said an over-reporting of the amount of renewable energy it was supplying caused by human error – and notified the regulator.
Cllr. David Seaton comments:
If you look at papers you will see exclusion relates to risk based verification policy – you highlight this below
In accordance with standing orders, Members are asked to determine whether the exempt annex relating to item 6, Risk Based Verification Policy
You are barking up the wrong tree so suggest you print correction
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