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British energy firm SSE hit by record £10.5-mn fine

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Britain's energy watchdog on Wednesday said it planned to fine utilities company SSE a record £10.5 million ($15.8 million, 12.4 million euros) for "prolonged and extensive" mis-selling of products to customers.

"Ofgem has today published its intention to fine SSE £10.5 million for numerous breaches of its obligations relating to telephone, in-store and doorstep sales activities," the watchdog said in a statement.

SSE said in a separate statement that it was "deeply regretful that breaches occurred and apologises unreservedly to any customers who have been affected by sales activity which ran counter to the values and culture of the company." It added that the mis-selling took place mainly between 2009 and last year.

Ofgem noted that "SSE management failures led to prolonged and extensive mis-selling," while the proposed fine was the "largest ever imposed on an energy supplier" by the regulator.

Sarah Harrison, senior partner in charge of enforcement, said: "Today's fine sends a clear message to suppliers that Ofgem will hold to account those companies which fail to treat consumers fairly.

"It is time for the energy industry to take note and get behind Ofgem's reforms to rebuild trust and make the market simpler, clearer and fairer for consumers," she added.

bcp/arp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130403/british-energy-firm-sse-hit-record-105-mn-fine