Light bulb fiasco costs E.On £3m

9 July 2013

E.On, one of the Big Six energy providers, has been ordered to pay £3 million for failing to prove that it gave its customers free energy-saving light bulbs.

The company had said it had handed out almost 25 million free light bulbs to customers in 2010 as part of its commitment to comply with the government's carbon reduction programme. However, it was found to have only actually distributed
21 million bulbs.

Regulator Ofgem said the figure had been given inaccurately because it included some bulbs that had gone on sale in the Republic of Ireland instead of being given out for free in Britain.

Most of the £3 million the company has been ordered to pay will be used to reduce the bills of vulnerable households this winter – £2.5 million will go to people living in fuel poverty and who receive the Warm Home Discount. The remaining £500,000 will go to Ofgem as a fine.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On UK, said: "We are sorry that these mistakes were made in 2010 and Ofgem has received a board level assurance that the necessary changes have been made. Our controls should have been stronger and our processes more robust."  

He added: "Overall energy efficiency obligations have been met, with the shortfall being made up by additional measures. No consumers were misled because of this mistake, but this does not take away from the fact it was an error that should not have been made."

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