Headquarters Windsor, England
Although British Gas was founded in 1986 as a public limited company (plc), its roots date back over 200 years, making it one of the world’s oldest companies. The timeline below illustrates some of the important events in British Gas’s history.
1812 - The Gas Light & Coke Company (GLCC), the first public utilities company in the world is set up.
1947 - The British Coal industry is nationalised.
1948 - The gas industry is nationalised, therefore dividing the nation’s gas activity into 12 regional gas boards. This ends the GLCC.
1968 - The Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) is formed.
1972 - The gas council is discontinued and replaced with the British Gas Corporation.
1986 - The gas industry is privatised by the Thatcher Government, forming British Gas plc.
- Tell Sid campaign is launched to promote investment in British Gas.
1994 - British Gas re-structured
1997 - British Gas separated into two different companies, ‘Centrica plc’ and ‘British Gas plc’.
1998 - British Gas begins selling electricity to customers.
British Gas continues today to be the sole supply brand for the Centrica conglomerate, allowing a comprehensive energy network through a family of unique companies. British Gas is quite comfortably the most popular energy supplier in the UK, supplying more than 11 million homes, employing over 30,000 people, and making a staggering £10,609m revenue from supply alone in 2015. Perhaps most recognised by their distinctive British Gas vans, their intelligent branding and marketing has made the company one of the most household names of the last 20 years.
The famous British Gas vans. Source: British Gas
British Gas have recently made the news with their announcement in September 2017 for their intent to rise gas and electricity prices for all of their customers. This was a delayed price increase due to their price promise, whilst the other five Big Six suppliers were rising theirs back in 2016; however, the time has finally come, putting British Gas back at the top of the most priciest energy suppliers in the country, where they generally spend most of their time.
At the end of Q2 in 2017, OFGEM reported that British Gas has a total gas market share of 33%, a huge drop over the last 10 years, which saw them have 44% in 2007. In the electricity markets, British Gas has a total market share of 22%. By a huge distance, British Gas has a bigger market share than any other energy supplier.
Given the UK's renewable energy targets, all suppliers are now required to provide information to their customers about the amount of each fuel they use to supply their tariffs. Despite British Gas not offering a 100% renewable energy tariff like many other British suppliers, their overall energy mix is outstandingly favourable to renewables compared to the majority, especially within the Big Six.
40% of British Gas's electricity supply is made up of renewables and another 10% is made up of nuclear, which to many is considered a renewable itself. The industry average for renewables is currently around 24%, which is almost doubled by British Gas.
It would probably be assumed that because of British Gas’s popularity nationwide, they know how to deal with the problems that may face their customers, and that would not be far from the truth: On the review website ‘Trustpilot’, which is known for being mostly focused around complaints, British Gas scored 6 out of 10 from 1892 reviews, which is extremely impressive. ‘Which?’ also reported a customer service satisfaction rating of 54% from 8902 customer reviewers which from that number of customers is fantastic.
In terms of where they stand within the Big Six, British Gas are definitely one of the best performers. The race for customer service success is generally between British Gas and SSE, who usually score slightly higher according to OFGEMs performance data.
No Big Six company, however, gets close to the customer service levels of independent suppliers. in the 2017 Which? customer survey, Eon and British Gas were the top two performing companies, with ratings of 57% and 56%, respectively. This is in comparison to likes of Ovo Energy, that scored 78% and two more stars in the 'Bill accuracy and clarity' section.
British Gas provide a variety of tariffs for household energy, including the 'Standard' and 'HomeEnergy' variants. Fixed tariffs, like their 'HomeEnergy Fixed' tariff, use a unit rate from a static date that does not change; however, variable tariffs, like their 'standard', pertain to the volatility of the wholesale energy market. This could allow potential savings if the unit rate goes down in price, although it could also result in much higher bills, if, like it has done frequently in the past, rises in price.
Due to the frequency in which they release new tariffs, it's extremely difficult to keep up with their prices, so the best way to get an accurate quotation is to give us a call on 01704 325056. Here you can see an example of how much their most popular tariff costs. Bear in mind that gas and electricity prices vary depending on location, so make sure to check for your region.
|Region||Elec price per kWh||Elec yearly price||Elec TCR||Gas price per kWh||Gas yearly price||Gas TCR||Dual Fuel Yearly|
|North East EN||12.33p||£469.57||15.15p||3.73p||£553.37||4.43p||£1,022.94|
|North West EN||12.98p||£489.75||15.80p||3.80p||£561.24||4.49p||£1,050.99|
|Merseyside & N Wales||13.73p||£512.86||16.54p||3.81p||£565.55||4.50p||£1,078.41|
|South East EN||12.39p||£471.52||15.21p||3.88p||£571.74||4.57p||£1,043.26|
|South West EN||13.47p||£504.72||16.28p||3.78p||£559.93||4.48p||£1,064.65|
Last Updated: March 2017
British Gas Smart Meters
Great Britain is currently undergoing, like many other countries across Europe, a national rollout of smart meters. It is expected that by 2020, every home in the United Kingdom will have been installed with a new smart meter. Smart meters mean that you no longer have to get your meters read and it also puts an end to estimated readings. Find out more about smart meters here.
British Gas are no different in the way that they deploy smart meters; however, because of their grandeur, it may mean that you receive it slightly faster. You can apply for your smart meter by showing your interest via the online application form.
British Gas do offer business energy tariffs and are up there with the most competive on the market. At present they only offer one single rate for gas and one for electricity and can be contracted by giving them a call. Unfortunately, at present, Selectra can not help you out with your switch of business tariff, so for your convenience, we have put below the number that you can call to switch your business energy tariff with British Gas.
British Gas is 100% owned by the conglomerate 'Centrica', which also owns, whoely or partly, another 14 subsidiaries. It would appear that in 2016, Centrica made a total revenue of £9,7016.1 million through sales of gas, electricity and other side projects. In their 2016 Consolidated Segmental Statement (CSS), they reported a total of £487.8 million supply profit PAT, which basically means after taxes/deductions, but not after interest.
They appear to generate the large majority, if not all, of their own supply, which makes profit margins much higher. Due to Centrica owning 8 generation subsidiaries, purchasing energy from the wholesale market does not make a great deal of sense. Through these subsidiaries, they also make a substantial profit in generation by selling their excess energy to other supply companies.
In 2016, their reported generation revenue stood at £1,180.3 million, breaking down into the following categories:
- Nuclear - £576.1 million
- Thermal - £532 million
- Renewables - £72.2 million
You can read more about British Gas's (Centrica) financial activity in 2016 by visiting the link below.
When you buy into British Gas shares, you are actually buying into Centrica. This is the parent company that wholly owns British Gas. As one of the largest companies in Great Britain, Centrica is a constituent member of the FTSE 100, (also known as the 'footsie') and is therefore a part-representation of the UK economy as a whole, as denoted by the performance of its companies.
Centrica trades on the London Stock Exchange denoted as CNA. Over recent years, Centrica's stock price has plummeted pretty drastically, going from as high as 402.20p in September 2013, to 138.00p in December 2017. Here's some of the key progressions of Centrica's stock price: