By Jonathan Davies

The energy giant EDF has been ordered to pay a total of £3 million "to benefit vulnerable customers" after an investigation into the way it handled complaints.

The energy regulator Ofgem said there had been a 30% rise in complaints following the implementation of a new IT system in 2011.

It said that EDF did not have the means to receive, record and process complaints in the correct way.

As a result, Ofgem has ordered EDF to pay vulnerable customers a share of £3 million.

Ofgem's Sarah Harrison said: "EDF Energy failed to have sufficiently robust processes in place when they introduced a new IT system and this led to the unacceptable handling of complaints.

"It's now vital for EDF Energy and the industry as a whole to truly put customers first and put adequate resources in place to deal with complaints."

Beatrice Bigois, EDF Energy's Managing Director of Customers, said: "Despite our best efforts and extensive planning to manage this transition in 2011 without impacting our customers, we recognise that for a period of time the service to our customers was not up to the standards they deserve.

"The £3m package that we are offering will ensure that thousands of vulnerable customers are provided with free, independent advice on debt, as well as information to help them manage their energy consumption and bills."

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