British Gas criticised

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British Gas has been criticised after mistakenly cancelling 45,000 customer Direct Debits this February.

Consumers will have to make up for their arrears over the course of the coming year - paying for the four months they missed because of the energy giant's administration errors, says Energywatch. The consumer gas and electricity watchdog was critical of the provider's errors.

"Households affected will have to make up the shortfall, estimated to be an average of £300, over the coming 12 months," Karen Darby, founder of a UK consumer site, commented.

"The vast majority of suppliers are pushing customers to pay by Direct Debit, with many offering additional discounts and offers for doing so. While any benefits are welcome, suppliers need to ensure that bills are accurate and up-to-date. Consumers also need to be vigilant and keep an eye on bills and bank statements for any unexpected additions or missed payments.

"Many suppliers have competitive online tariffs. We always advise customers with internet access to switch to an online tariff as they are usually the suppliers' cheapest deals and, because customers take their own readings, the bills are more accurate," she added.

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