British Gas is the biggest of the UK's so-called "big six" energy suppliers. It offers both natural gas and electricity as well as installation of boilers and other appliances and other support services. General household repair and maintenance services are marketed under the Dyno banner as well through the Local Heroes network of independent tradespeople. A key part of British Gas's strategy since 2017 has been the rollout of smart meters in the UK and the remotely-controlled Hive home services app. However, market share has been in steady decline for several years. In 4Q 2019 it had 28% of the local gas market by volume - still almost three times its nearest rival but down from 56% in 2005 - and 19% of electricity (from 25% in 2013). British Gas is the biggest customer-facing business within Centrica, a conglomerate with a variety of energy production, trading and supply operations in Europe and also in North America under the Direct Energy banner. However, the company is under growing pressure from falling commodity prices and stiff competition from smaller suppliers, especially online-only independents. That led to the sudden departures in 2014 of several managers including group CEO Sam Laidlaw in the wake of plunging performance. Declines in customer numbers and caps on pricing have continued to impact all the larger energy suppliers ever since. British Gas responded in 2018 with the launch of its own online-only low-cost brand, British gas Lite. In 2019, Centrica reported record losses of £1.1bn on revenues of £22.7bn. Chris O'Shea replaced Iain Conn as group CEO in 2020. Sarwjit Sambhi is divisional CEO of British Gas. The group was formed in 1996 from the break-up of the old British Gas Council state monopoly. Its original North Sea exploration and infrastructure operations were demerged as BG Group. Centrica has in the past dabbled in a number of other areas including roadside assistance, financial services and telecoms, but took the decision in 2005 to focus mainly on energy.
Capsule checked 21st July 2020
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Who are the competitors of British Gas? The Big Six energy suppliers in the UK are British Gas, EDF, E.on, SSE, nPower and Scottish Power. Independents include Bulb, OVO, Octopus Energy and Shell Energy. See Consumer Services Sector index for other companies
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Feb 2020: "Here To Solve". Leading UK utilities supplier British Gas has for years tended to plump for cutesy animations featuring a cartoon penguin to promote its range of services. All very nice, but seemingly targeted more at children (or childish adults) than real homeowners. There's a complete change from new agency Nucleus, the dedicated unit in which incumbent agency The & Partnership will work alongside Wunderman Thompson, Mediacom and PR giant BCW. That evolution has prompted a big improvement in T&P's creative approach. These two spots are a splendid mix of true-to-life household situations, brilliantly observed and giving every appearance of being entirely spontaneous, despite the fact that they have clearly been designed to cover all social bases. Same-sex marriages, mixed race families, disabilities and even female plumbers are all given a gentle nod, but to be honest, with the ads' infectious energy and warmth, you'd hardly notice. An excellent result. So long Wilbur the annoying penguin. You won't be missed.
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