July 31, 2014
Centrica, the largest energy supplier in the United Kingdom, announced their interim results today. They admitting to a challenging start to 2014 and have looked positively at the future, ensuring that the business continues to grow in 2015 and beyond.
Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman of Centrica, said in his statement this morning "The first half of the year has seen challenging market conditions across the Group, both as a result of the weather and reflecting the wider political environment. We have continued our efforts to engage with our stakeholders, particularly our customers, working to restore their trust. And we are taking the steps to position the business for growth in 2015 and beyond. Trust is addressed in part through our interactions with politicians, regulators and the media, recognising the importance of Centrica to the country's energy security. But most importantly, trust is earned through our service and relationship with the customer.
PROFITS - Profits for British Gas residential are down 26% on the same period for 2013. This has been put down to the weather being warmer than normal and also a consumption decline that is linked to increased energy efficiency measures in households.
CONSUMERs ARE SWITCHING - During the first quarter of 2014, British Gas customers reduced by 1%. British Gas say that this is down to an increase in residential energy prices that came in to play in November 2013. However, this was not repeated in the second quarter of 2014 despite strong competition from smaller suppliers. British Gas were the first energy supplier to pass on savings in full to all of their residential customers following the announcement of changes to the ECO programme and the induction of attractive fixed price propositions and they believe this is what kept customers with them in the second quarter of 2014.
BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE - The big six have been facing heavy scrutiny over their service levels in the media, however a positive for British Gas' as their average answering and call handling times have both significantly improved compared to the second half of 2013. British Gas say they have a strategy in place to cut the amount of customer complaints over the next three years and are on track to have moved all residential customers on to their new billing system in the second half of 2014. A system they say will deliver a more integrated customer experience.
To read more about their results click here.
Posted on July 31, 2014 at 10:19 AM
July 14, 2014
There is a common misconception among people who rent that they have to accept the energy supplier they have when they move in to the property, however this is rarely the case. OFGEM have made it their mission to encourage the 9 million tenants currently in the UK to go energy shopping. OFGEM's Be an Energy Shopper website has recently been updated to include the key facts and top tips for breaking down the barriers which prevent tenants applying their practical shopping habits to their energy bills.
• 77% of tenants say they have never switched energy supplier
• 20% of tenants are not aware that it is possible to switch to a different supplier
• Renters are only half as likely to switch compare to homeowners
• The 9 million renters could save a massive £200 if they shopped around for their electricity
Dermot Nolan, OFGEM CEO "the number of British households renting stands at 9 million and counting, yet research has shown that this group is not shopping around for their energy, and missing out on savings of up to £200. We've now updated the Be An Energy Shopper website so that it also addresses tenants' needs, and therefore they too can get a better deal on their energy"
Campaign spokesman and financial expert Jasmine Birtles added "It's not just homeowners who can shop around for their energy - renters can too. So it is worth taking a moment to bring yourself up to speed on your rights as a tenant. There are substantial savings to be made here so make sure you're not missing out!"
Some brilliant tips that the Be an Energy Shopper website has provided for tenants are;
• Take meter readings when moving in and out of rented accommodation
• Ask your landlord to highlight any supplier tie-ins upfront, including any exit fees which you would have to pay if you wanted to switch suppliers
• Let your landlord know if you are intending to switch supplier
• If YOU are responsible for paying the gas and electricity bill, you are entitled to switch at any time, and your landlord cannot unreasonably prevent you from doing so
To find out more Be an Energy Shopper breaking down the barriers preventing tenants from comparing and switching here.
If you are a tenant and hadn't yet considered comparing and switching your energy supplier, now is your time. We invite you to use or free and impartial service here. You can save up to £200 in a couple of minutes and we are fully accredited by OFGEM.
Posted on July 14, 2014 at 08:01 AM