British Gas was the first UK supplier to announce an end to auto-rollover contracts for business customers in 2013. We did this because we recognised that auto-rollover contracts meant that some of our customers were not always on the best deal and we wanted to give them more control over their contract renewal.
And by the middle of 2014, all of our customers who had missed the deadline for switching when their existing contract came to an end, were instead moved onto a variable tariff which allows them to leave at any time with 30 days’ notice.
This change is welcomed by our customers. In a poll of our British Gas Business Engagement Panel, 83% said the change made us more simple and transparent while 73% felt they trusted us more.
Together with other suppliers and organisations such as Citizens Advice, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of Convenience Stores, we continue to advocate for auto-rollover contracts to be banned. Without these contracts in place, we believe the energy market would be fairer, more transparent and competitive.
Rather than implementing a ban, Ofgem has introduced additional rules that seek to protect customers by increasing the amount of information energy suppliers provide to customers on their bills such as the contract end date and increasing the amount of time available to customers within which they can take action to prevent being automatically renewed. Ofgem is also introducing further rules governing the information provided to customers at the time of contract renewal which are due to be implemented at the end of March 2015. We fully support these improvements however we will not stop calling for an industry-wide ban, as we believe it is still necessary to protect all consumers.
We work to further give our business customers a better deal in 2015