British Gas is to launch a customer rewards scheme from April that will include Sky TV deals and energy discounts for its longest-standing customers. However, it's not yet clear what the savings will be, so you should continue to keep an eye out for cheap deals available elsewhere.
The Centrica-owned firm is Britain's largest energy provider, supplying nine million households – 6.6m of which (about 74%) are on its most expensive standard tariff.
In recent months energy suppliers have come under pressure from the Government and regulator Ofgem to do more to stop long-term standard variable customers overpaying.
Today British Gas has unveiled a series of offers, to launch in April, whereby all its energy customers and service customers (such as those with boiler cover) will be eligible for 'British Gas Rewards'.
You'll have to sign up to the scheme online and opt for paperless billing to qualify for the offers. But it remains to be seen what kind of savings the loyalty scheme will provide.
Until we know more, our top MoneySaving tip remains the same – if you're one of the 66% of the population overpaying on a standard tariff, check NOW if you can lock in a cheap deal as prices continue to rise. You can do a comparison to find your cheapest deal using our Cheap Energy Club.
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How will the loyalty scheme work?
Details are thin on the ground at the moment, but what we do know is that individual customers will receive "a selection of personalised offers" – so for example, if you're already a Sky customer you may not be able to access the Sky offers.
Here's a rough outline of what will be on offer through British Gas Rewards:
- Sky entertainment deals: British Gas customers will be offered Sky TV deals even if they are not a Sky subscriber.
- 'Loyalty deals' for energy: Customers who've been with British Gas the longest will enjoy bigger discounts on their bills.
- A new energy tariff bundled with British Gas Homecare services: These would give customers boiler and heating cover, including an annual service visit.
- A new energy tariff bundled with Hive Active Heating and other 'connected home' technology: It's hoped these innovations will help customers save by putting them more in control of consumption.
- Other energy tariff bundles: Products such as home insurance could be bundled in.
Because British Gas hasn't yet provided any detail on the level of discount or on who will qualify for the biggest discounts, MoneySavingExpert.com isn't currently able to analyse whether you'll be better off staying with – or switching to – British Gas.
All we know so far is that the supplier will be writing to customers in the coming weeks and months to outline the offers, which will go live in April. You don't have to do anything now, but you'll need to opt in to the scheme once it goes live.
Are other energy suppliers likely to follow suit?
In January fellow big six suppliers EDF and Npower told MPs they were considering starting their own loyalty schemes.
We've approached both firms to see if they'll confirm those plans and we'll update this story when we hear back.
What does British Gas say?
British Gas chief executive Mark Hodges said: "In the competitive services and energy markets where consumers have many choices, we know we have to work hard to win new business and keep our loyal customers happy.
"Our customer base is very diverse, and what they want and need from us varies significantly. The rewards programme we're unveiling today is about offering customers more than just energy.
"Above all it's vital that we ensure customers continue to make an active, informed choice about their energy tariff. We recognise there's more to do – today's announcement isn't the end of our drive to engage customers, but it is a major milestone."