Serving UK homes for over 200 years, British Gas is not only the oldest energy supplier in the country, but also the largest. The history of the supplier began in 1812 with the incorporation of the Gas Light and Coke Company, with the household name British Gas being introduced in the early 1970s. In 1997, British Gas became a subsidiary of Centrica plc, an FTSE 100 energy company. Now, British Gas provides electricity to more than six million UK homes, and gas to over 11 million, and was most recently named the Uswitch Large Supplier of the Year for 2020. British Gas is also known as Nwy Prydain in Wales and as Scottish Gas in Scotland.
Founded: 1812 (as Gas Light and Coke Company), 1997 (as a subsidiary of Centrica plc)
HQ: Staines-upon-Thames, United Kingdom
British Gas offers a huge variety of tariffs to suit any UK household, offering both fixed and variable plans with green energy options available. Many of these plans feature optional add-ons like Services Cover and Boiler Care. You can view the most up-to-date plans using our comparison tool.
British Gas fixed energy plans update regularly, as they are fixed up until a specific date as opposed to being fixed for a specific duration. This means that while other providers may offer fixed contracts for 18 or 24 months, for example, British Gas fixed rate tariffs will last until a certain date, regardless of when you join. Currently, British Gas offers fixed tariffs that expire in September and November 2021; 19 and 21 months from this writing.
All fixed rate plans with British Gas include exit fees should you wish to terminate your energy contract early, though there’s no current set amount. Many British Gas plans are offered as dual-fuel tariffs only, while others can be used as either as dual-fuel or for gas or electric individually.
British Gas also offers variable rate plans, as well as pay-as-you-go options for customers with prepayment meters, and all of these plans comply with Ofgem’s energy price cap.
Many British Gas energy tariffs also offer extra protection plans known as Services Cover. Services Cover includes Central Heating Breakdown Cover, Plumbing and Drains Cover, and Home Electrical Cover. These plans are more suitable for homeowners than tenants. Services Cover will be included free-of-charge for a portion of your contract, usually 12 months, and you will be contacted at least 25 days in advance of its expiration with details on the renewal price. You will be automatically charged the renewal price if you do not cancel it ahead of time, but Services Cover can be cancelled any time without exit fees.
There are also plans with British Gas that allow you to add Boiler Cover in addition to Services Cover, and some that allow you to have just Boiler and Controls Breakdown Cover without other services.
HomeCare coverage can also be purchased separately from British Gas tariffs. All HomeCare products include an annual boiler service, unlimited engineer call outs, a 24/7 customer helpline, and a 14-day cooling-off period should you change your mind about your purchase.
As a mainstay in the big six, British Gas is committed to not only satisfying its customers but also recognising its corporate responsibility and the environmental impact of traditional energy generation. British Gas has embraced renewable energy as it looks to encourage a more sustainable outlook. Currently, 43% of electricity is sustainably sourced from natural resources including solar, tidal, wind, and biomass, with offshore windfarms being one of the biggest areas of development for British Gas. Centrica, British Gas’s parent company, is investing heavily in the production of biomethane from biomass.
With most British Gas tariffs, some or all of the electricity you buy is being matched with renewable energy that is fed into the National Grid, which in turn increases the amount of renewable energy circulating to the public.
Currently, British Gas’s HomeEnergy Fix tariff will match 100% of your electricity use, but it is the Green Future plan that best exhibits the provider’s efforts to offset carbon use. 100% of electricity and 10% of gas consumed on a Green Future plan will be matched and fed back into the grid. 90% of your monthly carbon footprint from gas usage will be offset through British Gas’s support of carbon-cutting programmes in developing countries, and up to ten trees will be planted in UK woodlands on your behalf for every year you use a dual fuel Green Future tariff.
Green Future customers will be supporting British Gas’s efforts in the Eco Mapua rainforest project, which aims to protect a hectare of the Amazonian rainforest. British Gas is also supporting the Marajo Island community and protecting native species of wildlife.
Currently, Green Future plans are just £3 more than regular fixed-rate tariffs per month.
Another example of British Gas working to reduce carbon emissions is its plan catering to electric vehicle owners.
This is a ‘time of use’ tariff, akin to Economy 7 and Economy 10 plans, wherein you’ll have two separate electricity unit rates for peak hours and cheaper off-peak hours. The peak rate applies between 5:01am and 11:59pm, and off-peak runs from 12:00am to 5:00am.
The reason for utilising off-peak hours is to allow electric vehicle drivers to save money by charging their vehicles at home during off-peak hours, when electricity rates will be cheaper for customers of this plan.
The plan is not available for those using prepayment meters or those using an Economy 7 meter, as the tariff requires a smart meter in order for British Gas to accurately monitor how much peak and off-peak energy you are using. If you already have a smart meter that hasn’t been supplied by British Gas, you will need to check with the provider to confirm its compatibility. You will not receive cheaper off-peak rates until your smart meter is fully installed.
You will need to provide proof that you are an electric vehicle owner before you are able to utilise this plan. This will likely include you sending a copy of your V5C registration document to British Gas for validation.
Gas operates on a single unit rate for customers using this plan as a dual-fuel tariff.
British Gas is committed to having smart meters in every customer’s home by the end of 2020, as part of the government-backed upgrade scheme. Smart meters are energy meters that will regularly send readings to your provider automatically so that your provider always has an accurate representation of your usage and so you, in turn, can be sure that your bill is never any higher than it should be.
When you get a British Gas smart meter, you will also receive a smart energy monitor that you can use to keep track of your energy consumption. Tracking your usage can be an excellent way to reduce the size of your energy bills, as you can identify areas to improve or areas where you are using too much energy unnecessarily. Your energy monitor is an interactive tool that you can use to improve the efficiency of your home, with a user-friendly, personalised design. You will also be able to access these insights via the British Gas app.
If your home is eligible for a smart meter, British Gas will handle the installation for free. It’s important to note that while smart meters are quickly becoming the norm, not every UK household is able to have them as yet, particularly those in remote areas. You will be able to check your eligibility on your online British Gas account page. As mentioned, if you already have a smart meter from a different provider, this may not be compatible with British Gas, and you will need to confirm its compatibility in advance of beginning a British Gas smart meter tariff.
The British Gas energy app allows customers to submit meter readings, pay bills, book boiler services and more. If you’re a smart meter customer, then there’s even more you can do with the app, as you will receive personalised insights on your energy usage with handy tools and graphics to break down your consumption in a simple, comprehensible way. You’ll be able to set energy-spend targets each month, and will receive updates to help you stick to your budget.
British Gas currently has an ‘Average’ score of 3.5 stars on TrustPilot, based on roughly 26,600 reviews. You can expect quite a varied range of reviews for a company with a customer base as large as British Gas, though positive reviews do outweigh negatives for the provider. British Gas tariffs reviews indicate that many customers choose British Gas due to its name value and longevity, and British Gas is praised for its reliable, customer-focussed service and ease-of-use. Customers say that a switch to British Gas is an efficient, straightforward process.
British Gas received an Overall Customer Satisfaction Score of 71% in the 2020 Uswitch Energy Awards, the highest score of the big six. Its app, rewards programme and account management system have also all received awards from Uswitch.
Rewards is a programme for British Gas home energy or services customers. You must be over 16 and living in England, Wales, or Scotland to partake in this rewards programme, and you can apply for membership through your online account.
The rewards programme offers various perks and incentives such as discounts on restaurants and excursions, giveaways of movie tickets, food, drink, and even free energy days, and you can be put in the draw for major prizes like holidays and concert tickets.
With such a wide variety of plans available, British Gas tariffs can cater to almost any UK household. Getting your energy from British Gas means getting your energy from a brand that has been trusted by the nation for over 200 years. As the industry leaders, British Gas is a household name, and there’s little risk or uncertainty when you choose to go with the biggest of the big six.
British Gas offers a number of additional services exclusively to its customers, such as discounts and add-ons through the provider’s partnership with Hive, a brand who offer a wide range of smart home technology products. The electric car tariffs, along with its rapid shift towards sustainably sourced energy make British Gas not only an industry veteran but also a provider that has its sights set on a greener future.