Founded: 1812 (as Gas Light and Coke Company), 1997 (as subsidiary of Centrica plc)
HQ: Staines-upon-Thames, United Kingdom
Total customers: 11 million+
UK ranking: 1
British Gas has been around for over 200 years, making it the UK’s oldest gas and electricity provider. This big six energy supplier is firmly established as a trusted option, with plenty of customer rewards to enjoy..
British Gas is the largest energy supplier in the UK, providing gas to over 11 million homes and electricity to over six million. It’s also known as Nwy Prydain in Wales and Scottish Gas in Scotland. British Gas is the trading name of FTSE 100 energy company Centrica plc, formed in 1997.
Today, British Gas is known for its smart meters, including Hive products, as well as its boiler cover and competitive fixed rate tariffs.
The company was founded in 1812, when the Gas Light and Coke Company (GLCC) became (under approval from King George III) the world’s first public utility company. By 1827, GLCC supplied gas to 70,000 streetlights in London and by 1914 it was supplying gas to WWI munitions factories. It thrived for 136 years, expanding into the growing domestic services market before the British coal industry was nationalised in 1947. The Gas Act of 1948 spelled the end of the GLCC, which became the Gas Council. British Gas Corporation was founded in 1972, before the industry was privatised once more and it became British Gas plc.
Finally, in 1997 British Gas demerged into two companies, one of which was Centrica plc, to supply the domestic market with gas and electricity. The company has taken a firm leap into the modern era by embracing technology. It started offering smart meters in 2009 and celebrated its 200th birthday in 2012.
As the largest energy supplier in the country, it’s no surprise that British Gas offers a wide variety of tariffs to choose from. These are broken down into plans with fixed and variable terms, along with green-friendly options and special deals for those who drive electric vehicles.
You’ll be able to view the most up-to-date plans from British Gas on energy comparison sites. In addition to fixed price plans, British Gas offers variable rates as well as pay-as-you-go plans for customers with prepayment meters. It’s best to use a comparison site to see what British Gas tariffs are currently on offer, as plans and pricing will change by the minute. Your postcode will also impact available tariffs, with different regional price points to consider.
British Gas is currently partnered with Hive in order to offer customers smart home products and services. Hive produces a full range of smart, interconnected home devices to boost efficiency within the home. British Gas customers can take advantage of exclusive discounts across the Hive range. Its engineers can set up Hive for you and explain how everything works as part of a professional installation service.
British Gas is at the forefront of the push to get smart meters into British households, so it will install a smart meter free of charge if the technology is available in your area. The company aims to provide a smart meter to all customers by 2020, as part of the national upgrade scheme.
Are you wondering if British Gas smart meters are for you? Well, they send meter readings to the supplier automatically, so you don’t have to worry about it. They also come with a smart energy monitor to keep track of exactly how much energy you’re using. An interactive online tool shows these figures in a user-friendly format, so that you can figure out how to make your home more efficient. Prepayment customers are also eligible for smart meters, enjoying the additional benefit of being able to top up their meters using the app or website.
It’s important to note that not all homes are currently prepared for a smart meter. If you live in a remote area or have an unusual layout between your gas and electric meters, you may not be a candidate for this technology just yet. Customers can check their British Gas accounts online to find out whether or not they’re eligible. The installation process is simple; you can book your appointment online. A smart meter installation will take approximately two hours, which includes time for the engineer to explain how everything works.
Are you moving into a newly constructed home? British Gas supplies new build properties with electricity, delivers infrastructure to new developments, and offers smart meters right from the start. It can also deliver new meters to developments with built-in infrastructure. To install a meter in your new build home, you can call the company on 0333 202 9580, with the following information to hand:
Your address and postcode
Your Electricity Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN)
Your Gas Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)
With some new builds, the developer will set up an account for placing infrastructure and meters into each home. They can then change the ownership on the account to the homebuyer’s name. If you’ve just taken control of an existing account, it’s worth comparing energy plans to be sure you’re on the best one for your family.
British Gas offers a rewards programme called, simply, Rewards. To take part, you’ll need to be a current British Gas home energy or services customer, be aged 16 years or older, and live in either England, Wales or Scotland. You can submit an application online for Rewards membership, setting up your account. After that, you should be able to take advantage of:
Discounts on restaurant meals, family days out, and additional British Gas products
Giveaways like free movie nights, ice cream and drinks as well as free energy on loyalty days
Prize draws, where your name is entered into prize draws for concerts, holidays, and other prizes
If you’re thinking about becoming a new customer at British Gas, there are several benefits to signing up with this big six supplier. Large, established companies like British Gas can provide a wider range of plans to customers, whether you’re mainly interested in cheap pricing or green friendliness. Due to the partnership with Hive and its commitment to rolling out smart meters, British Gas is also a great choice for those interested in using the latest technology in their homes.
Essentially, if you want to have access to the latest technology, enjoy being able to control your energy use with an app, and prefer to choose from a wide selection of tariffs, British Gas could be a good fit. It’s also easy to switch at any point should you change your mind. You’ll have a 14-day grace period to cancel your new plan without penalty after enrolment.