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British Gas plans to offer free power on Saturdays

British Gas has said it is planning to offer free power on Saturdays to some of its customers, the BBC reported.

The idea is to encourage them to use more of their electricity at the weekend when there is less demand from businesses, according to the BBC’s industry correspondent John Moylan .

The scheme would be available to its one million UK customers who have smart meters.

British Gas is understood to have already started piloting the scheme.

The energy firm plans a bigger pilot later in the year and the scheme could be offered to consumers from 2014.

The roll-out of smart meters is at an early stage in the UK, but Centrica claims that it has installed more of them than the rest of the industry put together.

The parent company, Centrica, already offers the scheme - called Free Power Saturday - in its Direct Energy operations in Texas and the north-east of the United States.

Under the scheme, customers get 24 hours of free electricity every Saturday by agreeing to switch more of their usage to the weekend.

The new offer comes after British Gas warned that UK domestic energy bills could go up again this winter. The company attracted criticism after raising energy prices for UK households by 6 per cent in November 2012.

The residential arm saw profits rise 3 per cent to £356m, up from £345m a year earlier.

Overall, Centrica’s adjusted operating profit rose 9 per cent to £1.58bn for the six months to 30 June, up from £1.45bn for the same period in 2012.

British Gas has introduced a Tariff Checker to help its customers work out if they are on the cheapest tariff.

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