British Gas announces end to auto-rollover business energy contracts
- British Gas will no longer sell auto-rollover contracts from 1 September 2013
- A new process for renewing the contracts of existing customers – without an auto-rollover – will begin in June 2014
Business customers will no longer be sold products that automatically commit them to further fixed-term contracts by British Gas, the energy supplier announced today.
British Gas is the first energy supplier to commit to ending auto-rollover contracts, and the company is calling on other suppliers to follow suit.
Products without auto-rollover will be launched in September 2013 for new customers.
From June 2014, existing British Gas customers will be offered renewal options that require the customer to make a choice about which tariff they would like to sign up to, and which will not include another automatic fixed-term contract. Customers will be able to choose from a range of fixed-term or variable options.
Existing customers who reach the end of their contracts before June 2014 will be able to move to a non-rollover contract if they contact British Gas to discuss their renewal.
Stephen Beynon, Managing Director of British Gas Business, said: “At British Gas, we are committed to leading the way in making the sale of energy simple and transparent for all our customers. Increasing numbers of our small business customers have told us they don’t like the way the energy industry automatically moves them onto new contracts, so we’ve decided we will lead the way and put an end to this practice for our customers.
“We’re the first supplier to announce an end to auto-rollover contracts and we're calling on the industry and the regulator to work together to ensure that all customers have a transparent choice of products that never include auto-rollover."
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Small businesses are the engine of our economy and I am committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to help them succeed. Whether that is support to grow, cutting red tape or the lowest energy bills, we have to do everything possible to provide the environment in which they can flourish.
“Last year I committed to ensuring that consumers get the best possible tariff from their supplier. I know that auto-rollovers have similarly been a big issue facing small business so two months ago, I set up a cross-industry group on this issue. I am therefore delighted to welcome British Gas’s leadership and I hope that other suppliers will rapidly follow suit.”
From 1 September, new customers will be offered fixed term products without automatic renewal at the end of the term. Once these fixed products come to an end, British Gas Business will write to customers to offer further fixed term options, and if they do not choose to take these, they will be moved onto a variable tariff, which they are free to leave at short notice. After completing the necessary changes to our billing systems, the old auto-rollover process will have ended for all customers by June 2014.