British Gas is the UK’s biggest energy firm, and millions of customers stick with it through thick and thin, even if they know they can get much cheaper deals elsewhere (as I constantly nag about).
Yet right now there’s a route that enables existing British Gas direct debit customers, who use dual fuel (ie, gas & electricity) to slash their bills and stick with the energy giant. Sadly those on prepay or who live in Northern Ireland can’t do this.
To get the discount you have to change tariff, but that really isn’t a biggie. It’s launched a new deal called British Gas All Online Mar 19, which reduces the cost for someone with typical bills on its standard tariff (which 60% of customers are on) from £1,100/year to £900/year – a saving of £200.
This is available whichever your energy company is, but crucially existing British Gas customers can get it too, and they won’t be charged an early exit fee if moving tariff.
As it’s a fixed tariff, the rate you get (not the cost, that depends on usage) is fixed until March next year.
How do you get this?
You can’t just call British Gas to get this, or even go to its website.
You have to apply via a comparison site. To help we’ve developed a British Gas-only comparison filter as part of the MSE Cheap Energy Club.
To do it, just fill in your details and you’ll see how much you can save. Like all comparison sites we get paid if you switch through us; we however decide to roughly split this with you and pay £25 (dual fuel) of what we get to you as cashback, so it’s a win-win. Factor that in and the typical saving is £225 a year, though of course the comparison will tell you your savings exactly.
Is it worth it?
Seriously are you asking that? (Of course you’re not, I wrote that, but I’m just imagining that some will). This will take about five minutes of your time. So if you earn over £4,000 an hour, that’s a bad result. For everyone else it’s very lucrative. If I offered you the chance of £200 for five minutes’ work, you’d snap my hand off, so do it for yourself.
I’m a British Gas customer, what’ll change?
Er, not very much. It’s the same gas, the same electricity, the same safety, the same customer service – only the price changes. Though you do have to pay by direct debit, receive bills online and sign up to its British Gas Rewards scheme, which gives bonuses such as a free Sky Store movie.
You also need to sign up to have a smart meter fitted by 31 July 2018. That’s a meter that automatically sends readings in for you so you don’t have to. British Gas is pushing existing customers to do this anyway – and this way you get a cheaper deal as part of it.
Do be aware, with smart meters, if you then switched firm in future it may not be compatible, so would just turn back into a normal ‘dumb’ meter (don’t let that put you off if your tariff’s no longer cheap though). If you already have a smart meter – or aren’t eligible for one – you can still get this tariff. You’ll just need to give meter readings when asked. See our Smart Meters guide.
I don’t know my details, can I still do it?
Frankly if you’re only going to change to this tariff, rather than look at the whole market, and you’re on British Gas’s standard deal, this is ALWAYS cheaper. So do your best guesstimate of your details and put them in the comparison site – but of course then take the saving it gives you with a pinch of salt.
Can I move home or change my mind?
It’s portable, which means it can move home with you.
However, if – once the 14-day cooling-off period is over – you wanted to move to another company/tariff before the fixed period ends, there’s a £60 early exit penalty.
Could I save more elsewhere?
Yes. There are even cheaper deals out there. When you’re on the comparison, just unclick the filters (that we’ve pre-selected via the links above) to see a wider choice. In fact we’d love you to do that as you’d save even more money.
For more general tips about switching, see our Cheap Gas & Electricity guide.
Do let me know how much you save below…