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British Gas’s history began in 1812 with the incorporation of the Gas Light and Coke Company. It retained this name (GLCC) up until nationalisation in 1948 and adopted its current household name – British Gas – in 1973. British Gas Corporation subsequently became British Gas plc when it was privatised in 1986. In 1997 it became a subsidiary of Centrica plc, a FTSE 100 energy company.
British Gas currently supplies electricity to more than six million UK households, and gas to over 11 million – it was also 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.
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 prices are frozen 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 November 2021 to January 2022; 12-14 months from writing.
At time of writing (November 2020), British Gas tariffs included:
|Tariff name||Fixed period||Exit fees||Key features|
|Home Energy Fix||To January 2022||£30 per fuel||100% renewable electricity|
|Energy with Boiler Cover||To December 2021||£30 per fuel||Boiler & Controls Breakdown Cover for first 12 months included (then £2.50/month)|
|Green Future||To January 2022||£30 per fuel||100% renewable energy and 6% renewable gas (other 94% is carbon-neutral)|
|Electric Drivers||To November 2021||None||Designed for users of electric vehicles – lower prices to charge overnight (12-5am); free smart meter installation if needed; 100% renewable electricity|
|Standard Variable||None||None||30 days’ notice of price changes; Ofgem price cap applies to this tariff|
|Safeguard PAYG||None||None||For Pay As You Go customers only|
British Gas also offers extra protection plans, some of which are available with selected tariffs, like Energy with Boiler Cover. You can also purchase these plans separately as HomeCare products. Four levels of HomeCare are available, offering protection against a range of potential problems.
All HomeCare products include an annual boiler service, unlimited engineer call outs with parts and labour costs included along with up to £1,000 (including VAT) for getting access and making good for each repair. There’s also a 24/7 customer helpline, and a 14-day cooling-off period should you change your mind about your purchase.
HomeCare Two adds in central heating cover, while HomeCare Three also includes plumbing and drains cover. The top-tier cover – HomeCare Four – adds home electrics cover to provide comprehensive protection throughout your home.
The plans are more suitable for homeowners than tenants. When part of a tariff, services cover is usually free-of-charge for the first 12 months of your contract, with a discounted price to pay for the remainder of your tariff. You’ll be contacted at least 25 days before the renewal date with details of the renewal price.
Unsurprisingly, given its position as top dog in the energy market, British Gas is keen to commit to delivering on its corporate responsibility by switching energy production to increasingly renewable sources. From 1st April 2019 – 31st March 2020, British Gas sourced 76% of its electricity from renewable sources, up from 56% the year before. These sources include solar, tidal, wind, and biomass, with offshore windfarms being one of the biggest areas of development, up to from 43% the year before. Centrica, British Gas’s parent company, is also 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.
Those looking for 100% renewable electricity should investigate the company’s HomeEnergy Fix and Green Future tariffs. HomeEnergy sees British Gas purchase or generate 100% renewable electricity, but if you’re looking to reduce the impact of your gas consumption, investigate its Green Future tariff instead. In addition to 100% renewable electricity, the tariff ensures 6% of your gas is sourced from renewable sources, while the carbon footprint from the remaining 94% is offset through British Gas’s support of carbon-cutting programmes in developing countries. In addition, up to ten trees will be planted in UK woodlands on your behalf for every year you remain on the dual fuel Green Future tariff.
Green Future customers also support British Gas’s efforts to cut carbon emissions worldwide, with various schemes in Africa and the Amazon rainforest aiming to protect hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest along with indigenous communities and native wildlife.
Currently, Green Future plans cost 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, where you’ll be charged different unit rates for peak hour (05.01-23.59) and off-peak (00.00-05.00) usage. It enables electric vehicle drivers to save money by charging their vehicles at home overnight during the off-peak period when electricity demand is traditionally lower.
The tariff requires a smart meter 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 won’t receive cheaper off-peak rates until your smart meter is fully installed.
You’ll also need to supply proof that you’re 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 remains committed to installing smart meters in every customer’s home (who wants one) by the end of June 2021, as per the revised government-backed upgrade scheme. Smart meters provide regular meter readings of your energy usage that are sent automatically to your supplier to ensure you receive accurate bills.
When you receive your British Gas smart meter, you’ll also receive a smart energy monitor to keep track of your energy consumption. It’s an interactive tool that helps you to identify areas where you’re wasting energy unnecessarily, providing you with the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce your bills accordingly. Insights can be tracked on the energy monitor’s own user-friendly, customisable interface or via the British Gas app.
If your home is eligible, you won’t be charged for installing the meter – not all homes are suitable for smart meters due to their remote location or specific conditions within the property that may hamper the mobile signal required to send meter readings. You can check to see if your location is covered via your online British Gas account page.
If you already have a smart meter in place from another supplier, it may not – yet – be compatible with British Gas. If it’s an older SMETS1 generation meter, then it may only function as a basic digital meter with no smart capabilities until a software upgrade is rolled out. If this is the case, you won’t be able to make use of any British Gas tariffs that require a smart meter.
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 an easily understood way. You can also set energy-spend targets each month to cut your bills and will receive updates to help you stick to your budget.
British Gas currently has an ‘Average’ score of 3.6 stars on TrustPilot, based on around 50,000 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 (63% rate it ‘excellent’ or ‘great’) do outweigh negatives for the provider. British Gas tariffs reviews indicate that many customers choose British Gas due to its brand and longevity, and it’s also 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 such as discounts on restaurants and excursions, giveaways, and even free energy days, and you can be put in the draw for major prizes like holidays and concert tickets.
If you’ve a traditional PAYG meter, you can top up your key or card at any Payzone outlet or Post Office. Once done, simply insert the key or card into your meter, and the credit should transfer automatically for electricity; press and hold the red ‘A’ button to transfer gas credit to the meter.
If you’ve had a Smart PAYG meter installed, you can top up your supply without leaving your home, using the British Gas app or online via its website.
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 leader, 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 several additional services exclusively to its customers, such as discounts and add-ons through the provider’s partnership with Hive, a brand who offers 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.
Last updated: 27 November 2020