A BOURNEMOUTH-based energy firm has been fined £1.5 million for overcharging more than 4,000 customers and failing to treat customers fairly.

The iSupply company on Richmond Hill, which says it supplies 100 per cent renewable energy, overcharged around 4,400 customers on default tariffs protected by the price cap said the energy regulator, Ofgem.

In a statement, Ofgem said: "iSupply had insufficient governance and processes in place to prevent and swiftly address non-compliance."

It said the company, which failed to alert the regulator and put things right quickly, would have to pay £1.5 million to the voluntary redress fund for its failings and must refund overcharged customers.

The price cap for 11 million customers on default tariffs came into force on 1 January 2019. All suppliers are required to charge their default tariff customers at or below the level of the cap to ensure they pay a fair amount for their energy.

Ofgem said: "For the first price cap period (January to March 2019), iSupply overcharged around 4,400 customers £36,270 in total. For the second price cap period (April to September 2019), 25 customers were collectively overcharged by £53.

"Senior employees at iSupply were aware of the breach in January 2019 but did not report the issue to Ofgem."

The regulator said a whistleblower came forward in August 2019 with 'credible information, supporting Ofgem’s own monitoring and compliance activities on the issue'.

"Ofgem has found that iSupply had insufficient governance and processes in place to prevent and swiftly address such non-compliance," it said. "iSupply did not correct customers’ tariffs or issue refunds to those affected in a timely manner."

The company's newly appointed Co-CEO, Monica Collings, said: "iSupplyEnergy always endeavours to act with our customers’ best interests in mind. Unfortunately, with regards to the price cap, we have fallen short. We recognise the seriousness of these breaches and have agreed to pay £1,500,000 into the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme. As well as reimbursing affected customers the amount we overcharged, we apologised and paid each customer a further £5 per account as a goodwill gesture."

She claimed that: "Since we discovered some customers were on an incorrect tariff, we’ve worked extremely hard to transform our compliance capabilities and make sure the same or similar things can never happen again.

"We’ve strengthened our compliance capability, growing its skills-base, industry knowledge and experience, as well as giving the team the authority and tools it needs to be effective. We’ve also invested in resource in other key areas of the business and strengthened our leadership team to provide additional support and oversight. This further investment reflects our broader commitment to serving customers and has delivered results that can be seen in improvements to our Citizens Advice ranking and Trustpilot score during the year."

In a company statement published on its website, iSupply said: "Due to insufficient governance and processes, between January and March 2019 we overcharged around 4,400 customers on the default tariff cap for the first Charge Restriction Period, with a total detriment of £36,270.

"We also overcharged 25 customers on the default tariff cap within the second Charge Restriction Period, April to September 2019, with a total detriment of £53. We corrected all overcharges in October and November 2019.

"Senior employees within the company were aware of issues that led to the breach in January 2019 and did not self-report to the regulator in a timely manner. We did not treat customers fairly, as we didn’t correct tariffs or refund what we had overcharged promptly."

The Bournemouth Echo also asked the company to respond to an allegation that it had been 'quietly' put up for sale during the summer.

A spokesman said: "The options for the business are always kept open and always under review."