Data watchdog joins investigations into Spark Energy

Spark energy company based in Selkirk.

Spark energy company based in Selkirk.

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The body set up to make sure people’s data is not misused, the Information Commission Office, is investigating Spark Energy of Selkirk to see if it breached the Data Protection Act.

Last week we reported that energy watchdog Ofgem is examining Spark Energy over allegations it impersonated customers who wouldn’t or couldn’t pay their bills to get them off its books.

According to leaked documents, Spark employees systematically “switched chronic debtors” without their knowledge, using or even making up their personal details to dump them on the Big Six energy suppliers.

Now the data watchdog is also asking questions about Spark’s Consequential Transfer system, to investigate whether it broke the law.

A Spark Energy spokesman said it took “detailed legal counsel” before “reluctantly embarking” on this “last resort” with customers “owing us up to £5,400”.

He said: “Our terms and conditions make it clear that we can use customer data when faced with a situation where they are not paying bills or engaging with us in any way.”

The spokesman explained the process was, in Spark Energy’s view, lawful and in the best interest of customers, instead of pursuing them with “warrants costing £325”, for the installation of pre-payment meters, court appearances or disconnection.

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