Energy giant Centrica has launched a new digital-fronted, low-price domestic energy band, dubbed British Gas Evolve.
The new brand draws on learnings from two digital trial services Centrica has launched over the last few years: British Gas Lite, providing fixed-price energy to 60,000 SMEs since February 2018, and British Gas X, which started in June and now has 17,000 residential customers. British Gas Evolve will replace British Gas X.
Peter Simon, managing director of British Gas Evolve, said: “Our aim is to offer residential customers a low cost and reliable service from a trusted provider.
“We have taken what we know works from disrupter brands and combined it with our vast experience in the energy market to create a new customer offer to help Centrica grow,” he added.
Centrica highlighted that in a turbulent market where many discounted energy suppliers have collapsed—including mid-sized challenger Tonik Energy this week—British Gas Evolve will be backed by a large, financially resilient company, so customers won’t have to worry about it failing.
The brand also signals Centrica’s growing interest in renewable energy. Its main British Gas brand—the largest energy supplier in the UK—launched its first green energy tariff in January and supplies customers of its other tariffs with electricity that is 76% renewable and 24% from nuclear power.
Evolve will supply 100% renewable electricity, although as with British Gas’ Green Future Plus tariff, that green power will likely be offset with Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates rather than sourced directly from renewable generators.
With Evolve, Centrica also aims to create other tools and smart energy technologies to help customers reduce their usage and carbon footprint. These may include time-of-use tariffs and pricing that responds to supply and demand.
British Gas Evolve may also eventually launch electric vehicle offers and specialised tariffs, like the deal British Gas launched this summer with Volkswagen.
Simon wrote in a blog about the launch: “Our ambition is to be not just the largest but also a growing energy supplier in the UK for residential customers and small businesses—providing an effortless, reliable, low-cost, sustainable service that attracts and retains customers for the long term.”
The brand launched through a handful of third-party websites on Monday and will expand to the wider market later this year.
The new venture follows years of declining customer numbers at British Gas. The Big Six supplier has lost more than three million accounts over the last decade, although Centrica has emphasised that the rate of departure has slowed over the last few years. The supplier lost 286,000 customers in 2019, half the losses of 2018 and just a quarter of 2017’s losses.
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