Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Centrica free Saturday power plan

British Gas has said it could offer free electricity on Saturdays in a bid to reduce demand on weekdays.

The energy firm has announced plans to trial the initiative and could make it available to customers by mid-2014.

Centrica already offers a Free Energy Saturdays tariff to customers in the US.

A spokesman for Centrica said: "Our North American business offers a product for those customers in Texas who have a smart meter. Once we have trialed it, if it works then we could potentially offer it as a product for customers from the middle of next year."

One million UK homes and businesses already have smart meters installed, which automatically send readings to British Gas. Centrica hopes the scheme will encourage households to use electrical appliances at the weekend, when industrial demand is lower.

The development came as Centrica hinted at further price rises as British Gas announced profits from its residential arm rose by 3.2% thanks to the freezing spring weather.

Earnings increased to £356 million during the first half of 2013, as the company cashed in on the bitterly cold temperatures after raising tariffs 6% at the end of last year

Revenues from household supply of gas were up 16% to £3.7 billion, compared to the same period in 2012, as Britons cranked up the thermostats. Average residential consumption by volume was up 13% for gas and 1% for electricity.

Operating profits at Centrica were up 9% from £1.45 billion to £1.58 billion. The results sparked anger and calls for British Gas to keep a lid on tariffs.

Its profits would have been higher but were held back by a new duty to pay for energy efficiency measures in customers' homes, which helped push environmental costs up 37% for the period. Centrica warned that the scheme, which has landed it with a £1.4 billion bill, would "inevitably impact on customer bills ultimately" and that it was facing "upward pressure on costs".

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph