Npower and BG in price-freeze squabble

Energy companies npower and British Gas are gearing up to slog it out in another round of their long-running advertising spat.

Energy companies Npower and British Gas are gearing up to slog it out in another round of their long-running advertising spat.

Npower is to officially complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a British Gas television ad that suggests savings can be made on British Gas’s 2010 price freeze product but then directs customers via a Web address to a different price-freeze product with higher rates. Npower will argue that the ad breaches ASA rules on false advertising.

Last year the ASA upheld 19 formal complaints against British Gas advertising, while between February and May it has resolved eight complaints informally.

Kevin Miles, managing director at npower residential, says: “It seems British Gas is not listening to the advice given earlier this year by the ASA. This was the result of a record number of complaints received last year. If it won’t listen to the ASA, who will it listen to?

“It is in keeping with British Gas’s current ethos of setting records. Record price rises, record number of ASA complaints and record number of customer losses.”

Earlier this year npower re-ran a series of press advertisements under the banner “Whodunnit?” after British Gas failed to get its rival’s ads banned (MW May 4).

The two energy companies have been embroiled in a media battle for some time and it is common in the utility sector to take swipes at rival operators.

Npower declared its intention to build awareness of its brand and its aim to become “a successful challenger brand to British Gas” earlier this year (MW April 27).

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