British Gas Lite: the online business energy account
British Gas Lite is a new business energy service offered by Britain’s largest supplier. Aimed at organisations based on one site with single gas and electricity meters, British Gas Lite cuts overheads by operating exclusively online.
However, does cutting costs mean cutting corners? Read on for our guide to British Gas’ attempt at budget energy for businesses.
What is British Gas Lite?
British Gas Lite is a 100% online fixed-price energy service for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and microbusinesses from British Gas. This new service looks to reduce overhead costs and pass on the savings to customers by using smart meters and operating exclusively through the internet.
This means that, rather than having its own call centres, British Gas Lite uses a UK-based web chat team and allows businesses to manage their account online with no physical paper trail.
- British Gas Lite considers your organisation as a microbusiness if it:
- Uses less than 100,000 kWh of electricity per year
- Uses less than 293,000 kWh of gas per year
- Employs less than 10 workers
- Generates a yearly turnover of no more than 2 million euros
While cutting out all the usual extra costs to serve a cheaper energy product may sound great in theory, many British Gas Lite reviews mention the frustration customers often face when they are unable to have a real human deal with their issues over the phone, relying instead on its online web chat.
When a customer joins British Gas Lite, the supplier will arrange for a smart meter to be installed on-site at no extra cost. Your new smart meter will accurately monitor energy use, meaning that your business will only be billed for the gas and electricity it uses, rather than relying on estimated bills provided by the supplier. You can submit your meter reading online using your British Gas Lite login on the supplier’s website.
Tariffs and prices
To make things simple, British Gas Lite has only one fixed-price plan, for a set duration of 1-5 years, which is billed every month by Direct Debit.
British Gas Lite currently offers the following prices on its fixed-price plan. Prices are correct as of March 2020.
|Type of meter||Standing charge||Weekday rate||Evening rate||Night rate||Weekend rate|
|Single rate meter||131.01p per day||18.76p per kWh||18.76p per kWh||18.76p per kWh||18.76p per kWh|
|Day & Night rate meter||131.01p per day||19.71p per kWh||14.99p per kWh|
|Weekday & Evening/Weekend meter||131.01p per day||20.62p per kWh||17.19p per kWh||17.19p per kWh|
|Weekend & Night meter||131.01p per day||20.86p per kWh||18.04p per kWh||15.71p per kWh||18.04p per kWh|
As the service is fully based online, you’re going to need to know your British Gas Lite login details. The supplier will send an email when you first sign up, which will allow you to register for your online account.
Once you’ve followed the link in this email and created your username and password, you’ll be given access to the British Gas Lite portal, where you can manage your account details, view your energy use and speak to one of the customer service web chat team.
At present, British Gas Lite does not offer its own dedicated app for smartphone or tablets, which does seem something of an oversight for an online-based energy service. Instead, you must use your British Gas Lite login webpage from your mobile browser.
Extra services and products
As a budget energy service, British Gas Lite focuses on keeping its own costs down to provide the customer with low gas and electrcity prices. Therefore its list of extra services and products on offer is a fairly short one in comparison to some other business energy providers.
1. Smart meters
British Gas Lite aims to install a latest generation SMETS2 smart meter on the business’ premises within 90 days of taking over the supply. Smart meter readings are automatically taken monthly on the customer’s scheduled bill date, though can also be provided manually through their online account in the absence of a smart meter.
2. Financial aid
Although British Gas Lite does not offer its own financial aid programs, the provider urges customers to contact its web chat team should they be having issues paying bills, to discuss options for repayment.
If you have been undercharged, you may be back billed for the sum owed, though British Gas Lite will limit this to a maximum of one year.
Business owners that are struggling with debt are encouraged to get in touch with Business Debtline, a charity that provides free, impartial and confidential debt advice to small business owners and the self-employed.
UK average = coal 5%, natural gas 41%, nuclear 19%, renewables 33%, other fuels 2%.
British Gas Lite environmental impact
CO2 emissions: 157g/kWh (UK average = 208g/kWh)
High-level radioactive waste: 0.0006g/kWh (UK average = 0.0013g/kWh)
The good news for the environmentally-conscious consumer is that - compared to the UK average - a large chunk of British Gas’ fuel mix comes from renewable sources. However, at present British Gas Lite doesn’t offer its own clean energy tariff.
If running a green business happens to be your main concern, we would recommend taking a look at the 100% renewable energy tariffs on offer from suppliers such as Bulb, Positive Energy (coming soon) or Ecotricity.
Reviews and verdict
You may want to think twice about signing up with this supplier, if British Gas Lite reviews online are anything to go by. A large number of customers have complained about poor customer service and a lack of communication from the supplier.
In fact, most customer gripes were based around its web chat facility, which it exclusively utilises in place of a contact email, address or phone number.
In our tests, we waited no longer than 25 minutes to speak to a customer service advisor, but reports of hour-long waits and frustrating experiences with the web chat team are not uncommon tales from a host of British Gas Lite reviews on consumer websites.
It’s not all bad news, as some customers did mention British Gas Lite being among the cheapest energy quotes they received for their business.
However, there was more confusion when it came to smart meters, with customers sending photos of their malfunctioning meters with no response and others reporting that they were still waiting on their smart meter six months after signing up with the provider, relying on ‘exaggerated’ estimated bills in the meantime.
Many small businesses opt for British Gas Lite simply because of its parent company’s experience in the market. However, we would suggest looking at business energy providers outside of the ‘Big Six’, as they typically charge customers more than smaller suppliers.
|Some of the cheapest business energy prices on the market, due to reduced operating costs.||No app for smartphones or tablets.|
|No customer services, except for the web chat facility.||Reports of long waits to speak to a web chat operator.|
|No renewable tariff available.||No phone number, email or postal address to contact the supplier.|
If you do decide to sign your business up with one of the established ‘name’ brands, take a look at British Gas’ other business energy plans, which come with their own customer service helplines and dedicated email contacts, in addition to the web chat feature that is the norm with most energy suppliers these days.
While most business owners would be more than happy with cheaper energy costs, with British Gas Lite corners are cut to bring down overheads and this appears to frustrate many customers, unhappy with the lack of effective communication with the supplier.
How can I contact British Gas Lite?
British Gas Lite keeps its energy prices low by cutting out call centres and paper bills or statements, with its online web chat facility being the only way of getting in touch with the supplier.
British Gas Lite emergency contact numbersAlthough British Gas Lite is entirely based online, you can still use the following contact numbers in case of an emergency:
Gas Emergency: 0800 111 999 (freephone, lines open 24/7)
Electrical emergency or power cut: 105 (free to call from most landline and mobile numbers, lines open 24/7)
If you’re not a British Gas Lite customer
If you’re not yet a British Gas Lite customer, but you’re interested in finding out what the energy supplier can offer your small business, you can register your interest by filling out the form on the supplier’s website. You’ll need a few details handy:
- Your full name
- Your email and phone number
- Business name and full address
- Your MPAN number
Moving premises with British Gas Lite
Whether your business is leaving its current British Gas Lite-supplied site or has just moved into premises already hooked up to the provider, you’ll need to use the online web chat to let British Gas Lite know.
If your company is due to move out, British Gas Lite requests that you inform it 28 days before the move day. Then, on moving day you’ll need to contact the supplier through its web chat with the following to end your contract:
- Your final meter reading
- A forwarding address for correspondence, whether that’s the company’s new premises or a home address
- Name, phone number and (where possible) email address of the new occupier
- Documented proof that responsibility for the property is changing
If your business has moved into a building already supplied by British Gas Lite and you’re happy to stay with the provider, you’ll need to contact its online web chat team to update your account details. When getting in touch, you’ll need:
- Your opening meter reading
- Full name, postal address, phone number and email address
- Documented proof that responsibility for the property has changed
British Gas Lite complaints
Not happy with the service provided by British Gas Lite? Unfortunately, it can be quite a drawn-out complaint process with this supplier. In our tests, we waited an average of 18 minutes before a web chat operator was available to deal with our query. To register a complaint with British Gas Lite, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Access the British Gas Lite login page and use its web chat function to speak to a member of the supplier’s Business Customer Services team. In the case that the agent can not resolve your issue immediately, you will be given a reference number to keep track of your complaint.
- If you’re unhappy with how your complaint is being dealt with, you can ask to speak to a manager. British Gas Lite will contact you by email within 24 hours to let you know your complaint has been registered and a manager will get in touch within 10 working days.
- If your organisation is defined as a microbusiness and 8 weeks pass without an agreement with British Gas Lite, you will be issued with what is known as a ‘deadlock’ letter, with the supplier’s final offer. From here, you can approach the Energy Ombudsman for advice on what steps to take next. If you are not a microbusiness, you may need to seek independent legal advice instead.
Energy Ombudsman Contact Number
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
Telephone: 0330 440 1624
*Monday to Friday: 8.00am-8.00pm, Saturday: 8.00am-1.00pm
(Closed on bank holidays)
Contact the Energy Ombudsman by mail
If you wish to submit your complaint to the Ombudsman in writing, you can do so at the following address:
Ombudsman Services: Energy
PO Box 966
Warrington WA4 9DF
Contact British Gas Lite by mail
Unfortunately, as part of British Gas Lite’s low-cost measures, at present, the supplier is entirely based online, with only a web chat facility available for customers to contact.