British Gas launches billing for ‘dummies’

British Gas has unveiled details of its simplified energy bill, or “billing for dummies”, as part of its wider efforts to improve transparency and regain the trust of UK homeowner.

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The company is the first of the major energy suppliers to simplify its bills, a move it claims will also help consumers to decide whether they could benefit from a cheaper tariff.

The initiative, which is being introduced this summer, will show the meter readings on which the bill is based, allowing people to spot whether they have been over or undercharged.

Energy efficiency advice will also be included on the bill, as will details on savings that could be made by paying by direct debit.

The changes also aim to make it clearer as to whether consumers are better remaining with British Gas or moving elsewhere, amid concerns of recent price rises.

The bill has been designed in partnership with British Gas’ independent Consumer Board, which was set up to identify ways the firm could be more transparent.

The introduction of more transparent bills was first mooted last November after British Gas admitted that it “had not made it easy for customers.”

Ian Peters, managing director of energy at British Gas, says the move aims to make energy bills more useful by moving from a document “that’s just about how to pay, to something that’s about how to save.”

He adds: “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 natural and important next steps for us and our customers.

“For most customers, energy bills are the single most important communication they receive from British Gas. They are the key to understanding exactly what’s been used, and what it’s costing.”

The announcement follows a voluntary agreement between the six big energy companies to tell their customers if they are overpaying for energy and how to switch to a cheaper tariff later this year.

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