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British Gas considers introducing ‘free electricity’ on Saturday

The energy giant is hoping the scheme will encourage customers to use electricity at off-peak times and reduce the pressure on the power grid during week days

Speaking on the proposals, Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, which owns British Gas, explained that the tariff could help poorer households manage their energy consumption and also reduce carbon emissions.

The ‘free electricity’ on Saturdays plan has already been implemented by the company in the USA and requires participating homes to have a smart meter installed. Weekday electricity rates could also be increased for those on the plan.

With regards to a launch date, Centrica said the tariff could be available by mid-2014 in the UK.

Reducing consumption and cutting carbon emissions

Asked whether the new tariff could encourage higher rates of energy consumption at a time when cutting carbon emissions is a priority, Laidlaw replied that the UK launch would be planned in such as a way as to avoid a significant rise in energy use.

The idea behind the plan, he stated, is to encourage customers to shift their electricity- intensive activities to times when overall energy consumption is low. The initiative would reduce the need to turn on additional power stations during the week and consequently cut overall levels of carbon emissions.

The tariff was announced following the release of Centrica’s interim results yesterday, which revealed a 3% rise in British Gas profits and hinted at possible price rises.

Possible price rises on the horizon

Speaking on the issue of price rises, Laidlaw said: “With our customers using more gas to stay warm during the unusually cold winter, we’re doing everything we can to help them keep their energy costs under control and make bills simpler and clearer.”

Laidlaw added that Centrica wanted to discuss the rising costs of the ECO home insulation scheme with ministers and refused to promise that prices would not rise in 2013.

Finance director Nick Luff added: “We will keep prices as low as we can for as long as we can. If prices do have to go up, we will delay it for as long as possible.”

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  • Allan Lewis

    Sounds like the energy would not be free on a Saturday if they put the weekday price up. Therefore to maximise your benefit, all the electrical heating and tumble driers would be on on a Saturday (Why bother with the clothes line if electric is “free”) and of course all your energy saving habits so diligently followed would have 1 day off a week. I would predict a big boost in the sales of electric heaters and heavy duty mains fuses! Get the house and hot water nice and hot by Saturday night then try and keep the heat in for a few days. I,m surprised Laidlaw doesn’t think energy use would go up, mine would for very little outlay, as I am already 100% electric (ASHP).

  • Francis Mulhearn

    To be honest, I struggle to see the difference between calling a taxi, or calling a driverless car, both get the job done, in fact as a cyclist, and motorbike, a car that won’t try and pull out in front of me, is a good thing.

  • Francis Mulhearn

    Of course taxis don’t usually have day old kebabs under the back seat, or a boot full of fast food wrappers, who gets to clean the driverless car????

  • Mark Nixon

    Just think of the immense advantages that driverless cars would bring to blind and partially sighted people, and other disabled people, in terms of independence and general mobility.

  • Zariq

    Mate it is going to be lots of trouble on the road.

  • Nick Rs

    If any of you fly on a commercial airliner, you will almost certainly rely on computers to get you off and back on the tarmac, especially in thick fog!!! I think the problem is that a lot of people like to drive. Thats fine, but I think that “driving” will become a hobby we do round a circuit, rather than on a road with variable competence. this is coming, and the advantages will be paramount. Car ownership will also change, there won’t be the need for cars to sit on the drive, you’ll just book the transport when you need it from your phone, perhaps through a subscription service. No more road tax, servicing nonsense. No more worrying about Mr Plod’s interpretation of your effort to drive correctly. Ultimately it will be the next generation who will be open minded enough to think outside of the box. The reduction in accidents will also reduce pressure on emergency services…. the possibilities are boundless. Open your minds.

  • Gareth Day

    What would be the correct etiquette if you were the sole passenger in a driverless taxi and it was involved in an accident? 😉

  • Dave D

    Safer than being driven by a lot of the drivers on the roads today texting and phoning while they are supposed to be concentrating on driving.