British Gas Electricity

At the turn of the century the UK gas market consisted of just a handful of providers. On the whole councils ran the market. Unlike today where there are many providers and increased competition, back then it was a relatively closed market.
Things were set to change however with the introduction of the Gas Act in 1948.

The Gas Act was introduced by Labour and it meant the gas market in the UK would be nationalised - removing any private suppliers. All providers came together to form a dozen Area Gas Boards.

Twenty-five years later there was further restructuring when it was announced all of these area board would come under the umbrella of British Gas. The move was part of the Gas Act 1972.


Things were settled in the gas industry for fourteen years until 1986 when the Conservative government, led by Margaret Thatcher, decided to privatize British Gas. This came as part of the Gas Act 1986.

Later that year shares of the company were floated on the stock market and the public was encouraged to buy shares in order to become shareholders.

In 1996 there was more restructuring at British Gas. The company was divided into five sections. They were Public Gas Supply, Retail, Service and Installation, Contract trading and Transportation and Storage.  A year later the company was split in two leading to Centrica and BG plc.
The first division, Centrica, would look take care of gas supply and production in the North and South Morecambe areas.
The second division, BG plc, would look after transporting the gas as well as taking care of the exploration business. Its parent company is the BG Group.


Following the privatisation of the gas industry there has been much competition in the market. Increased competition results in price wars, which can be good for consumers.

In a market where there is little competition and only a handful of providers prices can be kept high. When there are plenty of providers they understand they need to compete for customers. This mean they are more likely to offer good deals and lower their prices.

Companies are constantly battling to be the most popular and often drop their prices at the same time as their competitors so as not to be left behind.

British Gas is still one of the leading suppliers of gas in the market despite the increased competition.

Calls to nationalise

Since the privatisation of the gas industry there have been repeated calls by some groups to re-nationalise it. Many believe the public will get a fairer deal if the industry is nationalised and is not a private company out to make a healthy profit.

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