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British Gas to simplify gas and electric tariffs

British Gas to simplify gas and electric tariffs

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 24/11/2011
First Published: 24/11/2011

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

British Gas has revealed plans to simplify its gas and electricity tariffs after admitting the industry had lost the trust of consumers.

The energy provider intends to offer just two tariffs, variable and fixed, and also make its energy bills more transparent by breaking down all the costs that make up a bill.

The managing director of the firm, Phil Bentley, also told the BBC that the practice of offering cheap deals as loss leaders to persuade customers to switch to British Gas would be stopped.

"It's not right if we are charging honest customers more [to fund these deals]," he said, having admitted the firm 'had not made it easy for customers'.

Gas and electricity providers have come under increasing fire from customers and consumer groups in recent months, standing accused of trying to baffle consumers with a vast array of deals.

Suspicion and anger has also been growing over the profits that energy firms have been making, while households struggle to find the money to pay rising bills.

Only last month, industry regulator Ofgem put forward a raft of proposals aimed at forcing providers to introduce simple tariffs, clearer bills and annual statements.

While British Gas has now broken cover, e.on announced earlier this week it would be reviewing its tariffs, bills and selling practices over the course of the next six months.

Mark Todd, director of Energyhelpline.com, said any move by the Big Six suppliers to make their dealings with customers more transparent and to simplify tariffs is welcome, but added he would like to see the cost of energy start to come down as well.

"The major providers have been badly bruised and chastened by the recent public reaction and British Gas managing director Phil Bentley admitting his company has not "made it easy for customers" is a welcome show of humility and honesty," he added.

"However, British Gas needs to look at its pricing policies and also at its discounting structures which many customers say to us are just too complex.

"Most people switch on price alone and unless these two issues are addressed the company may struggle to attract new business.

"While people want simplicity and transparency in their dealings with energy companies, they tend to want savings more.

"Households can save nearly £300 by switching, which for a few minutes work has got to be worth considering in these austere times."

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