Last week the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) released the results of some research carried out with their members, which uncovered how much work they felt the energy industry had to do in order to create a fairer and more transparent market.
I read the report with interest, and agree that the business energy market is highly complex. All energy companies have much more to do to meet the needs of small business customers.
At British Gas Business, our customers really are at the heart of what we do. For example, we’ve made significant changes as a result of their feedback, including leading the way across the industry in improving transparency, providing clearer information and putting an end to so-called ‘auto-rollover’ contracts.
In coming weeks, we’re introducing a greatly enhanced online service for our business customers which will make it much easier for them to manage their account. In fact, over 250,000 of them — mostly small and medium-sized businesses — have already moved onto the new system in the last few weeks.
This service is designed to answer some of the concerns raised by businesses which took part in the FSB research. For example, they will now be able to access information about their contract and bills at any time: it’ll be easier to find out quickly when a contract is due to end or what terms and conditions are in place.
British Gas Business is also discussing the removal of negotiated tariffs with a small number of our business customers, to see whether it works for them in practice. I understand why some believe this might make our prices simpler and easier to understand. However, we’ll only put this in place if we receive positive feedback, as we know many businesses both want and expect to negotiate their contract with us.
We also know that switching can feel complicated and slow. We’re currently reducing the notice period customers must give from 90 to 30 days. We also led the way on abolishing auto-rollover contracts; in a few weeks’ time, no British Gas Business customers will be placed on these contracts. We asked our business engagement panel, a group of over 3,000 firms, what they thought of this change, and 81% said this would make things simpler and more transparent. We also believe this will make it easier to switch.
With more than 30 companies to choose from, the business energy market is highly competitive. Under my leadership, British Gas Business will sustain the effort to offer great value to our customers. If you would like to know more about any of the topics covered here, please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me and we can have a chat online.