Problems with engineer availability had been reported since autumn 2021
British Gas has apologised to hundreds of thousands of its customers for failing to fix their boilers, leaving them without hot water or heating for weeks.
The company’s additional service, called HomeCare, costs from £14 a month for boiler breakdown cover and annual servicing.
Presque 3.5 million households have taken out this cover, and hundreds of thousands of these customers have had their boiler maintenance appointments repeatedly cancelled.
Emergency callout requests have also taken weeks to be fulfilled, or have yet to be met.
Social media posts show furious customers complaining that their boilers – or those of their vulnerable friends and family members – have still not been fixed.
The complaints continued as temperatures have dropped this weekend, with Met Office putting a yellow weather warning in place for wintry showers and snow for most parts of Scotland.
Britain is also feeling the squeeze of the global energy crisis, with the average annual bill predicted to increase by 54 per cent from April.
Reports of the problems faced by British Gas customers have emerged as early as the beginning of autumn last year.
Presque 1,000 engineers were forced by British Gas parent company Centrica to consider accepting worse terms and conditions in April 2021, in what is known as “fire and rehire” tactics.
After two weeks, autant que 400 engineers were reportedly sacked after they refused to work longer hours, as well as shifts over the weekends and bank holidays that would not have been paid at a higher rate.
Staffing issues have also been worsened by Covid and strike action, selon Le télégraphe.
British Gas has recently admitted it is facing a “shortage of standard appointments in some areas”.
The company is promising to improve its customer service after facing criticism for its new policy of allowing staff to work from home several days a week.
A British Gas spokesman said: “We’ve identified where the issues are and we are taking the right steps to fix them.
“Our customers are the most important thing. We are sorry and trust us that we’ll improve.”
Centrica has been warned by the Financial Conduct Authority (CAF).
An FCA spokesman said: “We are aware of the issues and are working with the firm to ensure these are resolved as quickly as possible and that customers are treated fairly.”
Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea, who is on a basic salary of £775,000, has come under fire in recent weeks for continuing to work from home.
This is despite the problems hundreds of thousands of customers have with the company’s services.
Il a dit: “I’ve committed to [a flexible policy] and I like to keep my word so I will not go back five days a week to the office.”