- New bill, designed with customers, makes understanding energy easier than ever
- New single unit rate and standing charge make it simpler for new customers to understand British Gas tariffs
As part of its commitment to making buying energy simple, transparent and fair for all its customers, British Gas has unveiled its radical new energy bill design – and a new pricing structure with standing charge, simpler discounts and single unit rate for new energy customers.
The new bill has been ‘de-cluttered’ of jargon and repetition.
British Gas bills will now help customers focus on ways to save money, and there will be a dedicated ‘Can I save money?’ section. This will offer each customer tailored advice setting out how they could keep their bills down in future. The advice will include energy efficiency advice, details of other cheaper tariffs, and savings that could be achieved by paying by direct debit.
British Gas has made all key information for customers visible at a glance, in clearly defined, easy-to-digest areas – including:
- The amount owed
- The due date for payment
- The amount of energy used
- Ways to contact British Gas
The new bill has been designed with customers – including members of the independent British Gas Customer Board, which has championed the issues of simplicity and transparency within British Gas.
Customers will start benefiting from the new bill this summer. (An image of the front page of the new bill, together with the front page of the old bill for comparison, is included in Notes to Editors.)
British Gas has also introduced a single unit rate for consumption alongside a fixed standing charge, brought together in a new clear and simple tariff.
This new approach removes the complex Tier 1 and Tier 2 tariff system, making it simpler for customers to understand exactly what they are paying for, and which costs they can control. The new tariff structure also makes it easier for customers to compare British Gas tariffs with those of other suppliers.
The new standing charge tariff structure is for all new customers, and existing British Gas customers can stay on their existing tariff, or choose to switch to the new tariff structure. When independent regulator Ofgem finalises its Retail Market Review proposals and confirms the future direction for tariff structures, British Gas will consider moving its existing customers to the new simpler structure.
The standing charge reflects British Gas’ fixed costs. These include:
- Transport and distribution energy to customers’ homes via the national grid, and the cost of maintaining this infrastructure
- Social and environmental obligations imposed by Government
- The fixed cost of providing a service to customers, including metering costs
For the average dual fuel customer, paying quarterly by cash or cheque, the standing charge will be around 52p per day (£190 per annum). In line with making energy pricing more transparent, the new structure will simplify the range of discounts available. Customers who choose to pay by direct debit will now receive a flat 6% discount on the total bill, reflecting the lower cost involved in running energy accounts with this type of payment.
Ian Peters, managing director of energy at British Gas, said:
“At a time when household budgets are under immense pressure, we want to make energy bills more useful – moving from a document that’s just about how to pay, to something that’s about how to save. We want to make it simpler for customers to find ways to take control of their energy use and help keep bills down.
“For most customers, energy bills are the single most important communication they receive from British Gas. They are the key to understanding exactly what’s been used, and what it’s costing.
“Over the past six months we’ve made several changes to the way our customers buy energy, to make it more simple, transparent and fair. The new bill and the new clear and simple standing charge tariff are natural and important next steps for us and our customers.”
Notes to Editors:
2. British Gas’ commitment to being simple, transparent and fair
The new bill and introduction of the standing charge are the latest in a series of industry leading moves from British Gas to help make buying energy simple, transparent and fair for all its customers. In the past six months British Gas has:
- Introduced a comparison table on the front page of new-style annual statements which tell customers how much they have spent and are estimated to spent on their existing tariff over the past year, and how much they could save by moving to another British Gas tariff
- Helped customers save money on a better deal; the British Gas “Tariff Checker” helps customers find and move to the right British Gas tariff for them
- Introduced a unique range of online tools offering direct debit customers more information about their payment plans, and more choice in the way they manage their accounts. British Gas customers can now:
- View their actual versus forecasted usage (in both kilowatt hours and cost)
- Check the status of their payment plan and likely year-end balance
- Increase or decrease their monthly instalments
- Make one-off payments
- Request refunds
New status indicators, using a red / amber / green system, show whether a customer’s payments are in line with their usage, and will help the customer determine the amount by which they should increase or decrease their monthly payments to keep on track.