Investigation into Spark Energy's compliance with its gas and electricity supply licences and the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008

Opened:
Jun 2013
Decision Proposed:
Feb 2015
Closed:
Apr 2015

We investigated whether Spark Energy Supply Ltd ("Spark") complied with the requirements of Standard Supply Licence Conditions (SLCs) 14, 21B, 22, 22C, 23, and 27 of its gas and electricity supply licence, and with the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008 (CHSR).

• SLC 14 sets out the provisions around domestic customer switching. The only permissible reasons for objecting to a request to switch a domestic supply (SLC14.4) are relevant contractual agreement, outstanding charges or transfers initiated in error and, for electricity licensees only, if the new supplier has not applied for all relevant meter points on the same working day.

• SLC 21B requires suppliers to take all reasonable steps to obtain and reflect meter readings into a customer bill or statement of account.

• SLC 22 sets out provisions relating to the duty to offer and supply power under a domestic supply contract.

• SLCs 22C and 23 set out provisions on the operation of the contract between the supplier and customer, including imposing obligations on the supplier in relation to certain variations to supply contracts.

• SLC 27 sets out provisions relating to direct debit management and calculations, and as to final bills or statements of account in case of transfer or termination of the domestic supply contract.

• The CHSR came into force on 1 October 2008. These require suppliers to establish in-house systems, processes and procedures to receive and record all complaints from customers.

We launched our investigation in response to a Consumer Futures referral, consumer complaints, and information Spark provided in response to Ofgem correspondence.

Spark has admitted that it breached the SLCs and CHSRs listed above. The Authority also finds that Spark breached the SLCs and the CHSRs listed above.

The Authority decided to impose a financial penalty of £1. This is in addition to £250,000 (less £1) in redress that Spark has agreed to pay in equal shares to Citizens Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice (covering England and Wales). This redress will be used to provide help and advice to energy consumers.