Licensees have welcomed news of the £2.5m fine issued to British Gas for failing to handle complaints from small businesses and domestic users appropriately.
An investigation by the energy industry's regulator Ofgem found that the company failed to take accurate records of complaints, failed to re-open complaints when they were unresolved and failed to direct businesses to the Energy Ombudsman.
Independent Pub Confederation chairman and licensee of the King's Arms, Borough, London, Bill Sharp, said: "On the one hand, it's a good thing this company is being brought to task.
"But at the same time it is being brought to task because of this massacre against businesses. Hopefully the fine will give licensees some confidence in dealing with them, and also deter other energy firms from treating customers badly."
Multiple operator Steve Haslam of TLC Inns said British Gas has been "absolutely terrible" to deal with.
"It's as if they have you under a spell. We used to have eight or nine contracts with them; now we only have a few. The quicker we get away from them, the better.
"British Gas won't be the only ones to be fined. A £2.5m fine isn't enough."
Since Ofgem began investigating in June 2010, it said British Gas has acted to improve its complaint-handling systems and ensure it is compliant with Ofgem's regulations.
A British Gas spokesman said: "For our 100,000 microbusiness customers, we acknowledge our service fell short of what our customers 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."
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