As Britain’s biggest energy provider, British Gas supplies 12 million homes in the UK – that’s just over 40%.
Despite their status, they come under fire regularly for pricing and customer service. How accurate are the reviews, and are they worth it?
British Gas Energy Reviews
- Trustpilot: 4.7 out of 10, based on 2,870 reviews. British Gas are rated ‘Poor’ overall.
- Which?: Overall customer score of 56% based on 2,257 customers. On average, customers rate them 3/5 for customer service, bill accuracy, and helping to save energy. They score just 2/5 for value for money.
- Review Centre: 1.4 out of 5, based on 327 reviews.
- Citizens Advice: 3.7 out of 5
British Gas Electricity, Gas & Dual Fuel Tariffs
The tariffs below are based on a specific postcode, and usage is based on a 3 bedroom semi-detached family home with gas central heating and water heating. For a more specific tariff, you can enter your own details on the British Gas tariff quote page.
- Gas – £60.87 a month (£730.39 a year).
- Electricity – £92.60 a month (£1111.20 a year).
- Total – £153.47 a month.
- Fixed until 31 August 2019.
- Exit fees – £40 per fuel.
- Gas – £61.24 a month (£734.84 a year).
- Electricity – £94.19 a month (£1130.24 a year).
- Total – £155.42 a month.
- Fixed until 30 Nov 2018.
- If British Gas’ prices rise, yours don’t.
- Exit fees – £20 per fuel.
- Gas – £61.24 a month (£734.84 a year).
- Electricity – £94.19 a month (£1130.24 a year).
- Total – £155.42 a month.
- Variable pricing, not fixed.
- No exit fees.
Note the tariffs listed above were correct at the time of writing (6 November 2017), although as noted, prices will vary by post code and subject to change at any time.
British Gas Business Energy
You can read our full profile on British Gas Business Electricity & Gas Tariffs here.
Beyond supplying electricity and gas to UK businesses, British Gas can also provide you with a commercial boiler. Their service includes a free 90-minute site survey, a fixed price, and a 5 year warranty. All boilers provided are energy-efficient and manufactured by leading suppliers including Worcester, Bosch and Vailant.
Switching to a British Gas commercial meter can take anything from 6 to 16 weeks – that’s as specific as they’re willing to be. Installing a new meter can take 10-15 working days.
There are costs to consider if you need an engineer to come out and repair your commercial boiler. For a job that takes an hour or less, it will cost £125 (it’s £100 for every additional hour of work), and you have to pay for any parts needed too.
If you’re concerned about repair costs, British Gas offer a £30 a month Business Care Plus package, which includes unlimited repairs at no extra cost and an annual service. If your commercial boiler has any existing problems when you sign up for the Business Care Plus package, it will cost £99 for an engineer to repair it.
You don’t have to be an existing British Gas customer to use their Business Repair package.
British Gas Background
Officially established in 1812, British Gas started life as The Gas Light & Coke Company, providing Britain with the first gas street lights. Throughout history, they’ve adapted to wartime conditions, privatisation, and energy innovations, officially becoming the British Gas Plc we now recognise in 1986.
Their record certainly isn’t flawless. As Britain’s biggest energy provider, British Gas is usually at the forefront of headlines when fuel prices increase. In 2014, Ofgem demanded they pay a total of £1 million in compensation to customers after encouraging them to switch from other providers using “exaggerated claims”.
British Gas’ size makes it a reliable favourite for many customers, and their engineers’ blue vans are a familiar sight on the roads. As well as energy tariffs and boiler repair, they offer appliance repair, plumbing services, and home insurance.
British Gas are also part of the government’s Warm Home Discount scheme, a means tested benefit scheme for those on a low income or receiving the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit.
British Gas Smart Meter
All British Gas customers will be able to have smart meters installed for free by 2020. To qualify, British Gas need to provide either your gas or electricity and your home has to tick a few boxes too. Not all customers can get a smart meter, but you have to log into your account to find out why and what your alternatives are.
British Gas don’t publicly provide any specific criteria regarding who qualifies and who doesn’t. According to the Smart Energy GB campaign, homes with pre-paid meters and pay-as-you-go accounts are eligible. However, if you have an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, you’ll need to wait for the ‘second generation of smart meters’, which are due in 2018.
Other British Gas Meters
The help and support section of the British Gas website includes guidance on how to read and understand your pay-as-you-go or pay monthly meter.
If you don’t have a smart meter, or don’t qualify for one just yet, you’ll need to submit meter readings yourself either online, through the app, or over the phone.
For £9 a month you can sign up for Hive Active Heating, which allows you to control your heating and hot water remotely with your phone.
Your Hive kit includes a wireless thermostat, a hub to connect to your broadband, and a receiver to help your boiler and thermostat communicate. It’s also compatible with the large majority of boilers, so yours doesn’t necessarily have to be top of the range or brand new.
British Gas Bills
You can receive your bills through the post or by email, plus they’re available through the British Gas app and your online account. You can easily switch to paperless billing if you’d rather see everything online, but you can still request individual paper copies of bills if you need to.
British Gas Warm Home Discount
British Gas was part of the 2017/18 Warm Home Discount scheme, which gives vulnerable people £140 towards their energy bills. But if you want to be part of the scheme for 2018/19 you’ll have to reapply.
British Gas App
Over 21,000 iPhone users, and 24,000 Android users, have given it an average score of 4/5 stars, so customers seem pretty pleased with it.
If you’ve signed up for Hive, you can control your heating and hot water with the Hive app. You can remotely change the temperature on your thermostat, turn hot water on and off, and set schedules for them.
If you’re going away for a week or two, ‘Holiday Mode’ will put your heating to sleep to save money, and snap back into action when you’re on your way back from the airport.
Switching To British Gas
It usually takes two and a half weeks to switch to British Gas from an existing supplier, but it might take longer, depending on the circumstances.
Once you’ve got your quote and chosen a tariff, British Gas will talk to your existing supplier, let you know when the switch has been taken care of, and will then request your first meter reading.
You might need to pay your existing supplier an exit fee, so always check the overall costs before you decide to make a switch. An exit fee might mean it’s not as cheap a switch as you first though.
Moving Home With British Gas
If you move house, it can take 5 weeks to set up your new British Gas account.
As tariffs vary from region to region, and depending on what kind of home you live in and how your boiler functions, you might find the prices go up or down if you move to a different area.
British Gas Fuel Mix
From 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, the fuel mix was predominantly natural gas (35%) and renewables (40%). Coal makes up 11%, nuclear 10% and generically named ‘other fuels’ comprise 4%.
A British Gas tariff is above the national average in terms of how much fuel comes from renewable sources (24%), but uses 3% more coal than average (9%).
CO2 emissions are currently 252g/kWh, which is slightly lower than the national average (254g/kWh).
British Gas Feed-in Tariff
British Gas is a mandatory Feed-in Tariff (FIT) licensee. This means you can receive your FIT payments from them (as long as your system is MCS certified) regardless of whether or not you are a British Gas customer. You can learn more on their website.
British Gas In the News
British Gas is latest supplier to offer new cheap deal – but only to customers with smart meters
3 Nov 2017, The Telegraph
As an incentive to install a smart meter, British Gas are offering “a saving of £105 from its standard variable tariff (SVT)”. The discount is available for new and existing customers who commit to installing a smart meter by 31 July 2018.
Big six energy firms lose 163,000 customers as British Gas raises prices
13 Oct 2017, The Guardian
In September, British Gas increased electricity prices by 12.5% which affected 3.1 million customers. Last year, in response, 160,000 customers left the ‘Big Six’ energy companies for smaller providers.
British Gas unveils first smart meter fit for digital energy boom
20 Oct 2017, The Telegraph
British Gas will be the first energy company to roll out a new kind of smart meter, which will “be used to harness household solar power, battery packs and electric vehicle charging to create a more efficient energy system”.
Now it’s time for a crackdown, as ombudsman service labelled ‘a shambles’
29 Oct 2017, The Observer
Moneysavingexpert founder Martin Lewis presented a review on ombudsman schemes to parliament at the end of October, in an effort to make the system work better for consumers. British Gas customers have been highlighted as some of the most disgruntled.
British Gas Complaints
The various review sites have their fair share of complaints.
29% of Trustpilot reviews are ‘Bad’. The 16 most recent reviews are all highly critical and detail problems with installation, customer service, and overpriced repairs.
Reviewers on Which? are slightly more complimentary, but they still score British Gas just 2/5 for value for money – this seems to be the main bugbear.
British Gas have provided data showing they resolve 49% of complaints within 3 days.
Contact Phone Numbers & Email
British Gas Address
PO Box 227
British Gas Summary
Everyone’s heard of them, and they heat 12 million homes – British Gas are no doubt the most familiar name in energy. According to Which?, two thirds of customers have stuck with British Gas for 5 years or more. Their most recent price hikes affected over 3 million customers, but only a small percentage switched because of it, so there are still plenty showing their loyalty.
Despite all this, it’s difficult to ignore the cries of dissent, and the unhappy customers are getting louder and louder. The complaints don’t just end with the prices, they cover installation problems, costly repairs, unreliability, and even complete disconnection. While some might be extreme cases, the large majority are still unimpressed across the review sites.
For existing customers who haven’t had any problems switching, British Gas provide a lot of info to make managing your account easier. Their app has impressed the large majority of customers, letting them submit meter readings and pay their bill wherever they are.
Plus, the ability to adjust your heating and hot water remotely through the Hive app is exclusive to British Gas and a very appealing prospect.
While the prices are generally higher than others, consumers really need to assess what British Gas is going to offer them that another energy company couldn’t.
- Access to the Hive app, which revolutionises the way you control your heating and hot water.
- Insurance and boiler breakdown cover in case things go wrong.
- Lots of information and guidance on the website so you can easily manage your account.
- Customers love the app, giving it great reviews for functionality and ease.
- The reviews aren’t fantastic – lots of customers are unhappy with all aspects of the service.
- More expensive than some other providers, and consistently losing customers because of it.
- Businesses could wait up to 16 weeks if they need a new boiler installing.
- Most energy companies have a sophisticated online account system now, so British Gas can’t claim they’ve reinvented the wheel with that one.