||It has been suggested that British Gas plc be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since October 2013.|
|Type||Limited company (subsidiary of Centrica)|
|Predecessor(s)||1812 (as the Gas Light and Coke Company)
1948 (as the Area Gas Boards)
1973 (as the British Gas Corporation)
1986 (as British Gas plc)
|Founded||1997 (as a subsidiary of Centrica)|
|Headquarters||Various, United Kingdom|
|Area served||United Kingdom|
|Key people||Chris Weston (Managing Director)|
Boilers and central heating
Plumbing and drains
Home appliance services
British Gas is an energy and home services provider in the United Kingdom. It is the trading name of British Gas Services Limited and British Gas New Heating Limited , both subsidiaries of Centrica. Serving around 12 million homes in the UK, British Gas is the biggest UK energy supplier and is considered one of the Big Six which dominate the gas and electricity market in the United Kingdom.
The brand British Gas remains from the demerger of the British Gas Cooperation in 1997, which formed Centrica, BG Group and National Grid. The British Gas Cooperation was a result of the restructuring of the UK gas industry following the Gas Act 1972. The act merged all of the area boards and created the British Gas Corporation. The British Gas Corporation was privatised as British Gas plc by the Thatcher government and on 8 December 1986 its shares were floated on the London stock market
1812 to 1948
The Gas Light and Coke Company was the first public utility company in the world. It was founded by Frederick Albert Winsor and incorporated by Royal Charter on 30 April 1812 under the seal of King George III.
It continued to thrive for the next 136 years, expanding into domestic services whilst absorbing many smaller companies including the Aldgate Gas Light and Coke Company (1819), the City of London Gas Light and Coke Company (1870), the Equitable Gas Light Company (1871), the Great Central Gas Consumer's Company (1870), Victoria Docks Gas Company (1871), Western Gas Light Company (1873), Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company (1876), Independent Gas Light and Coke Company (1876), the London Gas Light Company (1883), Richmond Gas Company (1925), Brentford Gas Company (1926), Pinner Gas Company (1930) and Southend-on-Sea and District Gas Company (1932).
On 1 May 1949 the GLCC became the major part of the new North Thames Gas Board, one of Britain's twelve regional Gas Boards after the passing of The Gas Act 1948 by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government.
1948 to 1973
In the early 1900s the gas market in the United Kingdom was mainly run by county councils and small private firms. At this time the use of an inflammable gas (often known as "Town Gas") piped to houses as a fuel was still being marketed to consumers, by such means as the National Gas Congress and Exhibition in 1913. The gas used in the 19th and early 20th centuries was coal gas but in the period 1967-1977 British domestic coal gas supplies were replaced by natural gas.
In 1948 Clement Attlee's Labour government reshaped the gas industry, bringing in the Gas Act 1948. The act nationalised the UK gas industry and 1,062 privately owned and municipal gas companies were merged into twelve area gas boards each a separate body with its own management structure. Each area board was divided into geographical groups or divisions which were often further divided into smaller districts. These boards simply became known as the "Gas Board", a term people still use when referring to British Gas.
1973 to 1986
In the early 1970s the UK gas industry was again restructured after the Gas Act 1972 was passed. The act merged all of the area boards and created the British Gas Corporation.
From its inception, the corporation was responsible for development and maintenance of the supply of gas to Great Britain in addition to satisfying reasonable demand for gas throughout the country. Its leadership, like the area boards, was appointed and supervised by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry until 1974, when those powers were vested in the newly created position of Secretary of State for Energy.
1986 to 1997
The Conservative Government led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher introduced the Gas Act 1986 in which led to the privatisation of the company, and on 8 December 1986 its shares floated on the London stock market. In the hope of encouraging individuals to become shareholders, the offer was advertised with the "If you see Sid...Tell him!" campaign. The initial public offering of 135p per share valued the company at £9 billion, the highest equity offering ever at the time.
1997 to present
In 1997, 11 years after it had been privatised, British Gas plc became the BG Group and the business' Gas Sales and Gas Trading, Services and Retail businesses, together with the gas production business of the North and South Morecambe gas fields, were transferred to Centrica, which owns and operates the British Gas retail brand to this day.
British Gas is led by Chris Weston, its Managing Director, who oversees a business that provides energy for 12 million homes and employes over 30,000 staff based across the UK. On 17 October 2013, British Gas announched prices rises of an average of 10.4 per cent on gas and 8.4 per cent on electriciy, which was criticised by members of the public and the Labour Party
Advertising, sponsorship and marketing
British Gas has actively been involved in sports sponsorship, including a six-year deal with the British swimming team which commenced in March 2009 and is expected to net the team £15million and from 2006 to 2009 it sponsored the Southern Football League of England.
Its extensive television advertising has featured many high profile individuals, and in the early 1990s one advertisement included Cheryl Cole (then Cheryl Tweedy) as a small child, more than 10 years before the beginning of her pop music career.
In November 2012 the Information Commissioner's Office publicly listed British Gas as one of a number of companies that it had concerns about due to unsolicited telephone calls for marketing. The concerns were based on complaints. In response, British Gas said that "We uphold the highest standards when contacting people in their homes, and only use contact information if we have express permission to do so."
- "British Gas Legal Information". Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "Millions face rise in energy bills". 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "Gas, Light and Coke Company". Archives in the M25 area. AIM25.
- "NORTH THAMES GAS PREDECESSORS". AIM25 Archives in London and the M25 area. Retrieved 10 Aug 2011.
- "Gas Act 1972". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "30 SECOND GUIDE: Tell Sid". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- "Demerger". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Before They Were Famous: Celebs In Ads (VIDEO)". Huffington Post.
- Core, Kevin (16 November 2012), Commissioner names firms over 'nuisance' marketing calls, BBC News, retrieved 8 February 2013
- Brady, Robert A. (1950). Crisis in Britain. Plans and Achievements of the Labour Government. University of California Press., on nationalization 1945-50, pp 132–82