Energy giant E.ON was ordered to pay £3m on Tuesday after it was found to have sold energy-saving lightbulbs that, by law, it should have given away for free.
The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) legislation was introduced to give energy companies an obligation to help their customers reduce their carbon emissions.
But E.ON, one of the big six suppliers, was investigated by energy regulator Ofgem, and was found to have breached these obligations.
Ofgem described the breaches as “inaccurate reporting” in a statement released on Tuesday. E.ON is said to have reported false information as to the amount of energy-saving lightbulbs it had distributed to customers.
The Guardian reported that some of the lightbulbs accounted for in the initial figures had gone on sale in the Republic of Ireland.
The penalty consists of a £2.5m payment that will be distributed to customers currently categorised as being in fuel poverty. The regulator said this would mean an extra £135 for 18,500 households to help with winter bill payments, adding, “The payment will be made to E.ON customers who are eligible to receive Warm Home Discount Broader Group payments.”
The remaining £500,000 is intended as a financial penalty and “reflects the serious nature of inaccurate reporting”.
Tony Cocker, CEO of E.ON UK issued a statement saying, “It was important to us that, as part of putting this right, customers in fuel poverty or in a fuel poverty at risk group should receive a portion of the penalty we faced in the form of the additional payments we are making. We’re pleased that Ofgem agreed and has allowed us to do so.”
He apologised for the error and stressed that E.ON had made up for the shortfalls in additional measures and met its carbon reduction targets.