British Gas launches bill for dummies

British Gas has a new simplified bill to help consumers save money.

British Gas is the first energy provider to launch a new “billing for dummies” system, designed to help all customers understand what they have been charged for, and whether they would benefit from a cheaper tariff.

At the same time the energy giant is introducing a new charging structure, which will have a single unit rate and one standing charge, replacing the two-tier tariff system, which has made it difficult for many people to calculate how their meter readings relate to the amounts charged on their bill.

[Related link: See if your tariff is the best value for you]

While this new charging system will only be available to new customers initially, all existing British Gas users will have the option to switch to it.

Existing customers may be automatically moved to the new charging structure if Ofgem, the independent regulator, rules that utility providers have to introduce simpler charging structures as part of it current Retail Market Review.

However, all customers though will benefit from the more transparent bills, which for the first time will show the meter readings on which this bill has been based, enabling people to quickly spot whether they have been over- or undercharged.

The new bill format (pictured above) will also show the savings that can be made by paying by direct debit or switching to another British Gas deal, as well as giving advice on energy efficiency and other ways to save money on gas and electricity bills. This new format should also make it easier for customers to compare costs with other suppliers.

Ian Peters, the managing director of energy at British Gas said: “At a time when household budgets are under immense pressure we want to make energy bills more useful moving form a document that just about how to pay to something that’s about how to save. We want to make it simpler for customers to find ways to take control of their energy use and help keep bills down.

“Over the past six months we’ve made several changes to the way our customers buy energy, to make it more simple, transparent and fair. The new bill and the new clear and simple standing charge tariff are important next steps for us and our customers.”

[Related link: Compare the energy deals in your postcode]

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