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By | Kelly Fiveash 9th August 2010 14:11

Judge rejects Accenture appeal against £182m lawsuit

Billing system cockup goes all the way to court

A preliminary appeal brought by Accenture against British Gas was rejected last week, after a judge ruled that a £182m lawsuit connected to the failure of a new billing system shouldn’t be obstructed.

As a result of that ruling the case will now be heard in court in October next year. It was first brought by British Gas in May 2008.

Problems with the SAP-based system, put in place by Accenture in 2006, led to a massive increase in complaints against the gas supplier. Centrica - British Gas's parent company - wrote off £200m, following errors with the system.

British Gas noted in an official statement last week that “The Court of Appeal has upheld the previous judgment on nine out of 10 preliminary issues, on which the High Court ruled in November 2009”.

The judge did, however, support Accenture’s claim that there was a definable difference between system glitches that caused problems and those that “could” lead to cockups.

British Gas is seeking multi-million pound damages for the installation of the billing system, which it said “caused huge disruption for the company and its customers.”

It claimed the system caused “millions of errors” and added that hundreds of thousands of punters left British Gas following the failure of its billing tech.

“We are pleased with the progress of our claim against Accenture. Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have now found in our favour during these important early stages,” said British Gas managing director Phil Bentley.

“British Gas is now one step closer to holding Accenture to account for the disruption caused to our customers.”

The Register asked Accenture to comment on this story, but the consultancy firm hadn’t got back to us at time of writing. ®

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