BC-Baffling Energy Jargon Bewilders Over Half of Small Businesses,11

(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/)

Over half of businesses (57 believe their energy suppliers use too

much complex jargon that could be hindering them in getting the best

deal for their energy, according to new research commissioned by

British Gas.

The research(1) reveals that a quarter of businesses (24 say they

spend too long dealing with their energy bills, contracts and pricing

renewals because of the jargon that is used by suppliers. An

additional 25 percent say they would need to spend more time trying to

understand their energy use and contracts to feel confident they are

getting the best deal.

In a tough economic climate when business owners are short on time,

many businesses risk missing out on the best price for their energy by

not having a full grasp of the common terms used in contracts and

billing. For instance, over three quarters (77 of businesses say

they can't fully explain the term 'deemed pricing', even though being

on a deemed price contract means paying a higher price for energy

compared to normal contract rates(2). A third (34 of businesses are

now calling for the energy industry to publish guides on managing

energy in simple and easy to understand language.

In response to this frustration, British Gas has worked with Plain

English Campaign to launch Energy Made

Simple(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/simplebusiness) - an industry-first

online guide to help businesses better understand information about

the energy they use to run their business. The online guide has been

developed with the help of a panel of British Gas business customers

and the account managers who speak to businesses about their energy

use every day.

Energy Made Simple(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/simplebusiness)

explains complex energy topics in easy-to-understand language,

covering all areas of energy ranging from drilling to billing. It also

offers advice and tips on how business can implement energy-saving

measures to cut their bills. According to the research, only a fifth

(20 of businesses are currently taking energy-saving measures,

despite savings of up to 20 percent(3) on offer for those that do.

Angela Needle, Head of Energy Consultancy at British Gas Business,

said: "We know that our small business customers are short on time and

want to feel confident they're getting the best deal. But we recognise

that as an industry we've not always helped them do this. By launching

Energy Made Simple, we want to give any business, regardless of its

supplier, the tools to quickly understand their energy contracts and

how to manage their use effectively. Through working with our

customers to develop services like this, we're committed to helping

businesses take control of their energy costs so they can spend more

time on the important job of running their business, safe in the

knowledge that they're in control of their energy usage."

Marie Clair from Plain English Campaign said: "In this tough economic

climate, we know that business owners are desperate to fully

understand the contracts they have with their suppliers and to feel

assured they can get the best deal. By working with British Gas on

Energy Made Simple, we've been able to help them explain some of the

terms and processes that cause businesses the greatest confusion, in

simple and easy-to-explain language. We hope that more suppliers now

follow British Gas's lead in being this clear and transparent. This

will help small businesses focus on running their businesses rather

than wrestling with confusing jargon."

Dolly Sharma, restaurateur at Apni Rasoi said: "I don't have much time

to spend looking at my energy bills. There are so many other things

that I have to prioritise to keep the restaurant going so I just pay

them without giving them much thought. And the idea of trying to

implement any energy saving measures seems such a huge task that I

feel I don't have the time to start thinking about it. However, having

been shown the Energy Made Simple online guide, I do think it would

help me as the straightforward language and clear graphics explain a

number of complicated issues really clearly - I'm looking forward to

using it." The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) in

London is an example of a business that has spent time developing a

better understanding of its business

electricity(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/business/electricity/) and

business gas(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/business/gas/) and is now

seeing the benefits through the savings it is making to its bill. Dawn

Ryan from the ALCS said: "We have found that by taking the time to

fully understand our energy consumption, making sure we keep a regular

eye on our bills and implementing a number of simple, energy saving

measures, we have saved up to 50% on our energy costs since 2009. But

not every business owner has the time to do this. I'm certain that

many small businesses, just like ours, would benefit from online

guides such as Energy Made Simple which give clear, straightforward

advice from their supplier on how to manage their energy."

For more information on Energy Made

Simple(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/simplebusiness), visit:

www.britishgas.co.uk/simplebusiness(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/simplebusiness)

Notes to Editors

About British Gas

- British Gas has over 1 million business supply point contracts and

650,000 customers, making it the largest energy supplier to small

businesses in the UK. For more information go to:

http://www.britishgas.co.uk(http://www.britishgas.co.uk/)

- British Gas launched a panel of over 1,000 of its business customers

in October 2011 to help it tackle common frustrations businesses have

with energy providers and create services that can help businesses

reduce energy costs in a way that works for them.

- Today's launch follows previous announcements in response to

feedback from the customer panel. In November, British Gas announced

its commitment to not back bill its business customers further than

one year by 2014. The business is also committed to installing at

least 200,000 smart meters for its business customers.

(1) About the Research

-- The research of 1,000 small and medium sized businesses was commissioned

by British Gas and carried out by One Poll in June 2012

-- Common energy jargon that businesses find confusing:

-- 77 percent of business cannot fully explain deemed pricing

-- 63 percent of businesses cannot fully explain out of contract

-- 60 percent of businesses cannot fully explain unit price

-- 69 percent of businesses cannot fully explain kilowatt hour

-- 64 percent of businesses cannot fully explain standing charge

-- 58 percent of businesses cannot fully explain estimated bill

(2) When you move to a new premises, the existing energy supplier to

the property will temporarily put a company on a 'deemed' rate by

default. Deemed rates are generally higher than the rate you'd get in

a contract you've actually chosen. This is because deemed rates are

short-term rates and the energy is bought short term.

(3) 20% reduction figure based on the polling of 1,000 businesses in

December 2011 carried out by Research Now and commissioned by British

Gas.

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