Forget talk of 4.5 million, EDF was fined just £1

The firms agreement to hand millions of pounds to hard-up customers is the first of its kind in Britain. Photo: Press Association

Why was one of Britains biggest energy companies fined just £1 for breaching important rules designed to protect the public from rogue sales staff?

Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, is today delighted that EDF has agreed to hand £4.5 million to vulnerable customers after it was found to have broken its license conditions.

Ofgem tells me that its investigation found EDF sales staff on the doorstep and over the phone were not getting it right. It left consumers at risk of getting the wrong deal.

The sales team was not giving complete information on crucial matters such as direct debits and contract terms.

Staff at one of Britain's biggest energy firms failed to give consumers complete and adequate information. Crucial controls designed to protect households were not working inside EDF.

The firms agreement to hand millions of pounds to hard-up customers is the first of its kind in Britain.

  • EDF will pay £4. 5 million
  • 3.5 million will go to 70,000 of its most hard up customers
  • another million will be given to an energy awareness campaign
£1 is being charged as an actual fine;a purely technical measure to ensure a penalty is registered. Credit: EDF Energy

The £4.5 million is not a fine, but rather an offer of redress the company made which the industry regulator Ofgem has accepted.

Ofgem says EDF took the initiative to correct sales problems, and the company insists consumers were not adversely effected by the failings.

Today's decision not to issue a stiff penalty but instead to allow the energy company to devise its own initiative is a significant shift in how this industry is regulated.