British Gas

British Gas

July 08, 2011 06:33 ET

British Gas Gives Customers Three Ways to Beat Increased Energy Prices Announced Today

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 8, 2011) - British Gas has today begun notifying its customers it will raise domestic tariffs for gas by an average 18%1, and for electricity by an average 16%1, on 18 August 2011.

British Gas recognises the difficulties customers are facing in the current economic climate, but today's announcement follows steep rises in wholesale costs, which have increased 30%2 since last winter because of higher global demand for gas, driven by increased consumption in Asia and the impact on supply of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

Britain now imports almost 50% of the gas it needs from other countries around the world, and British Gas has to pay the market rate in the global wholesale energy market.

British Gas aims to offer competitive prices and protect customers from cost increases in the wholesale market as far as possible. But the company cannot continue to make a loss on the energy it sells, as it needs to be a profitable business in order to invest in future sources of energy for Britain. The company is investing around £1.5billion this year alone in securing new sources of energy for its customers.

British Gas is offering customers a number of ways to help off-set the rise and keep energy bills under control:

  • Free loft and wall cavity insulation: energy and HomeCare® customers can save around £145 with loft insulation and £110 with wall cavity insulation each year3
  • EnergySmart: a free online service, which includes a free energy monitor, and can save the average household up to £125 each year4
  • Flexible payment terms: paying by direct debit can save the average household around £67 each year and customers can pay more in some months and less in others5

Customers can contact British Gas by calling for free on 0800 048 0202 or by visiting:

British Gas Managing Director, Phil Bentley, said:

"We know there is never a good time to raise prices, but we are buying in a global energy market and have to pay the market rate.

"Rising wholesale costs is an issue facing all energy suppliers. Our advice to customers is to wait and see what happens in the energy retail market as a whole before making any decisions about switching supplier.

"In the mean time, they should get in touch with us and ask about the simple ways we're offering to help keep bills under control."

Ian Peters, British Gas Chief Operating Officer, answers questions about the price increases here:

As a result of today's announcement, annual dual fuel bills for customers with average consumption are forecast to increase by £190. However, owing to the warm spring weather and continuing energy efficiency, British Gas customers may not see an increase in their dual fuel bills from last year.

British Gas has a strong record of offering competitive prices, as the company knows price is important to its customers. Until the changes announced today are implemented on 18 August 2011, British Gas is still the cheapest for electricity on average of any major supplier. British Gas has been the cheapest supplier of electricity for 15 weeks consecutively, and for 98 out of the past 113 weeks to 8 July 2011.

Customers who want peace of mind can fix their prices for the next two winters, until 31 March 2013, as British Gas is now offering a new fixed-price tariff, Price Promise March 20136.

Energy efficiency with British Gas

An independent report by the Centre for Economics and Business research (cebr), published in February this year, showed that British Gas' homes saw a 22% reduction in gas consumption over a five-year period (2006 to 2010). British Gas customers who adopted a variety of energy efficiency measures and behaviours, such as loft and wall cavity insulation, energy efficient boilers and smart meters, which help households control their energy use with real-time information, saved an average of £322 each year.

Help for elderly, disabled and fuel poor customers

British Gas has more than 330,000 customers on its Essentials tariff, which offers extra help, discounted rates and energy efficiency measures and products, saving each Essentials household an average £134 each year even after the price rise7.

In January this year, to give extra help with the costs of staying warm during the severe weather, all British Gas Essentials customers received an additional £50 credit on their bills.

British Gas also committed an extra £20million to the British Gas Energy Trust to help customers struggling with energy and household debts because of life-changing events. The company also offers fair and flexible payment terms to customers who are struggling, helping them manage and avoid debt; British Gas has helped more than a million customers in this way over the past year.

Background information British Gas price announcement 8 July 2011.

Contact Information

  • British Gas Press Office
    0800 107 7015

    Centrica Investor Relations
    01753 494 900