New division at British Gas ushers in customer-led focus

British Gas has created a division that will explore new revenue opportunities as the company seeks to position itself as more than just an energy supplier.

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The Centrica-owned company has promoted commercial and strategic marketing director Dean Keeling to lead the business – called Smart Homes.

Keeling will lead a team of 100 people drafted in from its smart meter and new energy units and oversee the development of smart energy technology and new revenue streams. The aim, he says, is to “transform the British Gas of today into what it will be tomorrow”.

He adds: “If we are just an energy provider, we’re missing opportunities. This is an evolution of how British Gas is transforming its business model for the future.

“By moving marketers into managing director roles, British Gas is following through on putting cust­omers at the centre of what we do.”

British Gas aims to maximise the commercial value of its smart meter programme by improving their benefit to customers through the use of new technology, such as smart appliances that allow customers to control their energy use via text message.

The company plans to install 2 million smart meters by 2012.

Its marketing campaigns encourage energy efficiency as a way of reducing bills. It came under fire at the end of last year from consumer groups, which have accused it of profiting from cold weather after it increased its prices by 7%, blaming an increase in wholesale prices.

Energy watchdog Ofgem has since launched a review into pricing strategies within the sector after Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy followed with price rises.

Keeling’s promotion follows a wider restructuring of British Gas’s senior management team when former marketing director Rick Vlemmiks replaced Chris Jansen as commercial director last year.

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