Freezing cold helps boost British Gas

Centrica-owned British Gas has had a better-than-expected first quarter of 2010, as the freezing cold led to a 7% rise in domestic gas consumption in the first three months of the year.

British Gas campaign
British Gas campaign

The utilities provider has also added over 200,000 customers so far this year, following the price-cutting in February, which it says has led to this rise in customer numbers.

The price cut strategy was supported by a national ad campaign created by CHI promoting British Gas as the “cheapest standard gas and electricity” supplier in the UK.

Work included TV, outdoor and print, as well as a tie-in with Absolute Radio. The campaign followed the announcement by the company that it was dropping its prices by 7%, the third time that it had cut them in 12 months.

The price cut is expected to benefit as many as eight million households, with the average gas customer saving £55 per year.

The price cut was an attempt to ward off a potential public outcry that falls in wholesale prices have not been passed on to consumers.

Since the summer of 2008, the cost of gas and electricity in wholesale markets has roughly halved, while household bills have risen, according to the official consumer price index.

In a statement today, Centrica said that the outlook for the full year remained positive.

The company has also rolled out 80,000 smart meters to customers by the end of April, part of an ongoing project that will see nearly one million households receive the meters by 2012.

The company says smart meters save money by charging for the exact amount of gas used.

This story first appeared on pitch

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