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British Gas supports constructive debate on collective buying and switching

29 March 2012

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British Gas, the nation’s largest energy supplier, has today set out its position on collective buying and switching.

British Gas supports the principles of collective buying and switching, and believes there should be a constructive discussion about the issues with Government, Consumer Focus, Which? and other organisations. 

British Gas supports the call from Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, to embrace new ways of buying energy.  However, British Gas is concerned that current proposals from Which? fall short of being simple, transparent and fair for all customers; which may result in below cost pricing for new customers which would be unfair; some customers would be excluded from taking part; more tariffs would increase complexity in the market; and important customer service standards and other energy efficiency support would not play a part in purchasing decisions.

British Gas is also calling on Which? to be fully transparent about the fees it could earn from this service.

Ian Peters, managing director of energy at British Gas, said:

“We support the principles of collective buying and switching for energy customers in Britain, but any new buying mechanism must be simple, transparent and fair for all customers.  It should also provide an opportunity to engage not just those who already switch regularly, but a wider group of consumers to help them get the best value for the money they spend on energy.

“We believe there should be more debate about the potential for collective buying and switching – with the aim of finding solutions that are genuinely in the long-term interest of customers.”


Notes to Editors:

British Gas believes it is important that the debate about collective buying and switching includes consideration of the following issues:

  • Britain has one of the most competitive energy markets in the world, and the lowest energy prices in Western Europe (Source: Ofgem)
  • 80,000 people switch energy supplier in the UK every week; Consumer Focus has found that levels of switching are higher in the UK energy market than in almost any other market
  • Disclosure of the fees that would be charged by agents engaging in collective switching on behalf of consumers
  • Consumer protection

 Media contact: British Gas press office 0800 10 77 015


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