An erroneous transfer is exactly what it says it is - a transfer of your electricity or gas supply that has taken place in error.
Usually the transfer will take place without the customer's knowledge, until of course a 'Welcome Letter' or contract from the new energy supplier is received in the post.
The cause of an erroneous transfer may be for many reasons, including incorrect customer details entered on the central database used by all suppliers, but it can equally be due to an individual supplier's poor administrative processes or employee incompetence.
Irrespective, the ramifications can be serious for the affected business, leading to valuable time be expended trying to resolve the problem. It may also result in your gas or electricity being transfered to a supplier who would not be your first choice, and on a tariff that may be more expensive than the one you had with the previous supplier.
So what can you do when it happens?
There appears to be very little protection for those affected. One example of an erroneous transfer we've been involved with resulted in the business being unable to return to their original supplier because they themselves had been informed by the new supplier that a legitimate request to change had been received - even if in error.
A subsequent conversation with the government quango responsible at the time, also led us to believe that very little could be done and were advised simply to try and negotiate the best deal possible with the hijackers!
A bill was put before parliament in 2004. This was referred to as the 'Power Supply (Compensation for Erroneous Transfer) Bill', but it looks as though it didn't actually become law. if anyone has any information on what happened with this bill, we would appreciate finding out what happened to it.
In any event we believe that business energy consumers have very little protection against the negative effects - financial and administrative - of an erroneous transfer, and which will have been through no fault of their own.
This is a situation that needs addressing urgently.