Npower has come out fighting with an advertising campaign and a new product aimed at attracting disgruntled British Gas customers after the company announced price rises of 14.2 per cent last week.
Meanwhile, British Gas is fighting back with an offer to freeze its gas and electricity prices at the new rates for the next five winters – until April 2010 – offsetting any rises that may occur in the meantime.
The gloves are off in the battle for customers as Npower begins a national press campaign attacking the price hikes. The ads declare/ “British Gas customers hit for six! British Gas has hit its customers’ pockets again with another price rise. Don’t get caught out!” As part of the assault, Npower has set up an initiative called Gas Guardian. The RWE-owned energy supplier is offering consumers the chance to sign up to a package that guarantees frozen prices at the British Gas rate Quarterly Gas Cheque until 2007. Npower says Gas Guardian will initially be promoted via a direct mail campaign, and if successful will be advertised nationwide.
British Gas is offering its alternative, called Price. The offer means that dual-fuel customers on average consumption can fix their prices at no extra cost, while electricity-only customers will be offered a discounted rate of 4.8 per cent below the standard tariff. British Gas says this would mean a “reduction of nearly &£15 on the average direct debit annual bill”.
British Gas says that more than 1 million British Gas customers took up a similar offer last year. British Gas managing director Mark Clare says/ “We know that price increases place additional financial pressures on our customers. That is why we’re doing everything we can to help out and protect them from further price rises. With Price Protection, customers know where they stand and can budget ahead.”