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Come and talk to the MD of British Gas, 1pm, Weds 9 Dec, and be in with a chance of winning free gas and electricity for a year

(526 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 08-Dec-09 15:45:07

As part of its "We're Listening" campaign, British Gas, the UK's largest energy supplier, is sending its managing director Phil Bentley to listen to your views and answer your questions.

He wants to know what your biggest frustrations are regarding energy and is happy to take questions on energy costs/ bills etc, as well as suggestions on how British Gas can improve its service.

Everyone who takes part in the discussion will be entered into a prize draw to win a year's supply of gas and electricity (you will need to be a British Gas customer or switch to British Gas to take advantage of this prize).

If you can't make it on Weds, please feel free to post your question/make your comment below.

Otherwise we'll see you at 1pm tomorrow.

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 08-Dec-09 15:50:17

here he is.

I was checking to see if he was hot. grin

Here's my question:

Is there anyway you could set up a system that means that customers don't get sent a bill for £0.02p ever. A number of times I've moved house and been sent a ridiculous final bill where the cost of postage has been more than the actual amount owed.

RemyMartin Tue 08-Dec-09 16:19:07

Dear Phil, what are you doing to encourage people to use less energy, and is it working?

What do you see as being the future of energy when gas runs out?

What changes do you think we will see in the near future due to ecological reasons?


LeninGrad Tue 08-Dec-09 16:23:13

If I switch back to you will you move my metre outside or can you monitor my usage another way?

itsmeolord Tue 08-Dec-09 16:29:24

will you be referencing the "british gas are bastards and they all smell of poo thread?"

Might be a good place to start. grin

Its in classics by the way. <helpful>

YouDontKnowMeFromAdam Tue 08-Dec-09 16:32:07

Dear Phil - I get frustrated by the constant visits from meter-readers. How many readings does a energy company actually need? I understand you need your own readings sometimes rather than believing those we give you, and also that you need accurate readings sometimes rather than estimates. But it's not unknown to get meter-readers far more frequently than once-a-quarter.

And how does the system work - who are these people? Are they employed by the energy companies directly only visiting those addresses who recieve energy from the employing company? I get the impression they visit everyone in the street... so where does the data go then?

Are there any laws/guidelines regarding this subject? I'm not generally an anxious person but sometimes I don't want to let in a complete stranger, usually a man, unannounced, to my home. I know they should carry ID etc, but I couldn't tell a legit ID from a dodgy one.

itsmeolord Tue 08-Dec-09 16:33:53

My question however is this;

"As you are listening to your customers now, can you please tell us what measures you are taking to get your departments to listen to each other? I have switched in frustration as I ended up have long protracted arguments with 3 billion different people, none of whom had any idea of the history of the issues despite being told every time I phoned that they were "updating the notes on my account."

Also, could you please repeal the bailiffs from visiting me on a regualr basis, your company has admitted I don't have a second meter but you are still charging me for the non existent one, although it is always nice to make new acquaintances I don't think being on first name terms with the local bailiffs is doing much for my image at the school gates.

snorkie Tue 08-Dec-09 16:42:06

why are there so many different tariffs? It gets very confusing and sometimes seems as though it's done so that customers can't compare easily or notice if they're not on the optimum tariff for them.

Why not have a fixed price per unit for everyone, without having the first so many units being more expensive? That might encourage people to use less (as currently the artificially low marginal cost doesn't) and make it easier to know the true cost per unit.

Why can't we have the option of gas where I live? (west Norfolk)

mulledfruitshootandcheese Tue 08-Dec-09 16:58:04

If i was to win the free gas for a year does that mean they would put a new gas pipeline to my village and then take it away after 12 months?

BigTech (MNHQ) Tue 08-Dec-09 17:15:57


SkipToMyLou Tue 08-Dec-09 17:17:33

Why does a proportion of my bill go towards meter reading costs, and yet I always get billed on estimated amounts? It seems silly to pay for meter readings you aren't actually using! And isn't there an obligation to use an actual (not customer-supplied) reading at least one quarter out of four? How are you meeting this?

Secondly, why does BG put customers' direct debit payments up so much when it comes to the annual review? I'm lucky in that I understand tariffs and was able to work out that the annual consumption figures you were predicting for me were absurdly higher than the actual figure for the past 12 months, and I was thus able to get my direct debit adjusted downwards accordingly. But what about the 'average customer', who can't do the calculations, and ends up massively in credit to you, and then has trouble getting a refund of said credit; meanwhile you get that customer's money for 'free'. Do you plan to overhaul the system that calculates annual reviews, and if not, why not?

I used to work for Eastern Electricity back in the day by the way, so please feel free to give me a real answer wink.

serenity Tue 08-Dec-09 17:17:39

I'll just second itmeolords sentiment - we just moved house and it's been hugely frustrating because we've had to deal with so many different people, none of whom have had updated information, so I've had to rehash the problems time and time again (and everyone has a different idea of how BG is going to resolve it, yet nothing seemed to be done!) We've sorted it now, but it was bloody annoying to take over 3 months to sort something as common as changing address!

My question..

'Pay as you go meters are apparently designed to help low income families budget, and are often used as a convenience by landlords. How do you justify charging these vulnerable customers more for their fuel?'

pooter Tue 08-Dec-09 17:18:25

Just a comment - i will NEVER go back to British Gas after they harassed me for 2. years for a bill that was not mine. This was after i had provided solicitors letters as evidence that we did not own the property during the billing period and had rung them up countless times - on one occasion being spoken to extremely rudely.

Eventually i paid. For a bill that was not mine. I was living in dread of more collectors agents' letters and phonecalls and frequently in tears with the frustration of it all.

I complained to the head of customer services and never had a reply.

NEVER again. It was disgraceful.

arbourlights Tue 08-Dec-09 17:25:13

This thread could bring a whole new meaning to the word flamed...


LedodgyChristmasjumper Tue 08-Dec-09 17:26:44

I'd like to know why they use un-ethical practises for collecting money. I swapped from BG and didnt realise I had £27 outstanding. I got a message left on my phone telling me it was from a telegram service and I had an urgent telegram, not realising telegrams don't exist anymore I panicked thinking something had happened to my Godfather in America. I rang back and it was a debt collectors that British Gas had employed. This is the reason I have never swapped back to British Gas no matter how cheap they are!

nevergoogledragonbutter Tue 08-Dec-09 17:43:31

OTW big tech, OTW.

madamy Tue 08-Dec-09 17:55:51

I'd like to know why, when I'm stopped by a BG salesperson I'm always told I could save loads of money on my energy bills but in reality all this means is 'cheap' bills for a year, followed by 2 years of expensive ones as the original quote was way out.

Seems to me the 'save loads of money' tactic is purely to get you to sign up , then you have to stay as you can't afford to pay £300+ to pay off the debit so end up staying with a higher direct debit.

SCargot Tue 08-Dec-09 18:04:58

id just like to say HI to phil.
i have no problems wiht British gas btu am trying to think of some pretty hard.

SCargot Tue 08-Dec-09 18:05:13

oh and its quite a nice photo isnt it?!

ISawTortoiseFuckingSantaClaus Tue 08-Dec-09 18:06:58

serenity has just asked my question. smile
I am a single parent and we have to freeze in the winter because i can't afford to keep topping up the gas meter. Plus this means mould because there is no heating to dry out damp/condensation.

scrappydappydoo Tue 08-Dec-09 18:50:59

I would also like to know what your future plans are regarding enviromental issues and what happens when the gas runs out..

My question is...
Do think the government should provide the winter fuel allowance for other groups of people such as those with disabilities? If yes what can you do as company to influence the government in this area?

christiana Tue 08-Dec-09 19:18:32

Message withdrawn

I'm sure I saw Mamazon on here earlier saying about the gas meter and how she has to pay a higher price for a pay as you go meter (in terms of unit prices) than she would if she could get a direct debit one, but to get a direct debit one she would have to pay £200 deposit. Basically it was charging the poorer people more and thus, keeping them bloody poor.

I shall try and find her in the threads to check that is right. If I can't, my question is, how the bloody hell can he justify this. It's disgraceful!

herbietea Tue 08-Dec-09 19:58:53

I wanted to ask a couple of questions that have already been asked, so I'll ask this one instead.

Why is it that when the whole sale cost of gas goes up, the retail cost follows almost immediately. But when the wholesale cost comes down, it takes ages for the retail cost to come down?

Please don't say, because the customer is using the gas which you purchased at a higher cost, because when the cost goes up we are using the gas which you bought at a lower cost.

So what is the real reason?

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