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British Gas have announced they are hiring new staff nationwide to help current staff cope with the unprecedented number of customer calls. The number of customers who are struggling to manage is growing rapidly, as energy bills soar.
The energy supplier has said they are to recruit 500 new UK-based staff for their call centres. They currently have around 6,000 staff in their call centres. They hope this move will aid in keeping call numbers down from the growing number of people in the UK who are facing a huge cost of living increase.
On April 1st 2022, the average household fuel tariff rose to a staggering £2,000 a year as a result of energy regulator OfGem increasing the price cap by 54%. This reflected a huge rise in wholesale gas prices.
Centrica, who are the parent company of British Gas, have said the demand for customer service has been “phenomenal” over the past year. They hope they can manage this demand over the coming months, particularly with another energy price cap rise expected in October. A spokesperson for Centrica has said; “Customers are very concerned about rising energy costs and we want to help them as much as we can.”
Centrica also suggested it expected the British Gas operating profits to top expectations, with forecasts ranging from £739 million to £1.4 billion. A huge blow to customers who are experiencing such struggles to aid these growing profits. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already been criticised for not placing a windfall tax on energy providers.
On a more positive note, the British Gas energy support fund is now at £6 million. It was set up in December 2021. This provides grants of up to £750 to support the most vulnerable customers. This aid to help people pay their bills will be a relief for many. So far, the fund has paid 3,600 a total of £1.9 million so far. This makes the average grant £534.
British Gas are not only hiring new staff in their call centres, either. They have stated they will create a further 1,000 apprenticeships in engineering. British Gas have a goal of setting up 3,500 apprenticeships over the next decade, with 500 already under their belt. They also hired 700 qualified engineers in 2021.