Bord Gais hires debt collection agencies to pursue energy firm 'debt hoppers'


People who switch to another energy company without paying their bills -- 'debt hoppers' -- are to be pursued by four debt collection agencies hired by Bord Gais.

In a bid to tackle the practice of customers closing their energy accounts without paying their bills, Bord Gais yesterday confirmed it had taken on four debt collection firms: BCW Ireland, Arvato, Businesspro/ Stubbsgazette and Emerald Isle Collections to pursue those individuals.

A spokeswoman for Bord Gais said yesterday debt hopping was a "serious issue facing the energy industry".

"The non-payment of closed accounts is an unfair practice which ultimately leads to higher costs for all customers and therefore the company took the decision to appoint third-party providers to help us recover this debt," she said.

The spokeswoman pointed out: "This is normal practice in the energy industry in Ireland. It is important to stress that only debt on closed accounts is passed to these agencies and only following substantial efforts to collect the debt via in-house collection processes."

She added that the numbers concerned were commercially sensitive but "it is a very small proportion of customers".

Gordon Deegan

Irish Independent
 

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