A coroner is to call for a change in the law after an elderly couple were found dead in their home weeks after their gas supply was cut off, due to the non-payment of a £140 bill.
Nearly £1,400 cash was found at the couple's home
George Bates, 89, and his 86-year old wife Gertrude were found in a decomposed state in October in the south London house they had shared for 64 years.
British Gas said the Data Protection Act prohibited them from passing information on the situation to social services.
On Monday, coroner Dr Paul Knapman recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.
He told the inquest at Westminster Coroners' Court that he would contact the Information Commissioner to bring to his attention what he described as "a very tragic story".
Neighbours in Salterton Road, Tooting, raised the alarm when they realised they had not seen the couple for some time.
Police found the pair on 18 October in their lounge.
Mr Bates had died from hypothermia, emphysema and coronary heart disease and his wife from coronary heart disease.
British Gas had twice visited their home, in June and August, about the outstanding £140.62 balance.
On the second occasion the supply was cut-off, the inquest heard.
Harry Metcalfe, general manager of communications at British Gas, said 10 attempts were made to contact the couple before the supply was switched off, as is procedure.
He said since the introduction of the Data Protection Act, British Gas was prohibited from passing information to social services as they were not allowed to disclose information on debt without the customer's consent.
Later in the inquest, it emerged that when the house was searched officers found £277 in cash on a small table in the lounge and £1,116.70 in a purse in a shoe.
Dr Knapman said: "I shall write to the Information Commissioner and bring to his attention the fact that this disconnection could not be brought to the attention of the social services because of the provisions of the Data Protection Act for such action as he may think fit."
Mish Tullar, a British Gas spokesman said it was important that the act was reviewed by the Information Commissioner and offered the company's condolences to the Bates family.
Hilary Carter, from Help the Aged, said: "I think the key issue here is that there is no system in place to flag up vulnerable people and though they [British Gas] knew there was vulnerability here they weren't able to tell social services."