Centrica subsidiary Scottish Gas has put in place plans to fine customers around GBP5 for paying their bills late, various media reports have suggested.

The move comes hot on the heels of the announcement of job cuts by Centrica as it battles to remove its residential energy business from the red.

According to reports, Scottish Gas will charge GBP5 if customers take longer than 28 days to pay their bills.

The company claims that the move is designed to reduce the financial burden of chasing up unpaid bills, which it says cost it GBP21 million each year. However, ‘vulnerable’ customers will be exempt from the new measure.

A Scottish Gas spokesman said: The GBP5 charge reflects our costs in following up customers’ debts and is an approach similar to that taken by many other companies, such as BT, though we won’t be applying the charge to any vulnerable customers.