BG hikes UK gas prices 10% and suffers major PR disaster.

Guardian: “British Gas has turned a consumer and political backlash over a 10% increase in energy bills into a public relations disaster after trying to head off criticism of the price hike by using social media.” “Nearly 16,000 Twitter comments – most of them vitriolic – rained down on Britain’s biggest power provider in a few hours after it invited questions from customers. One online expert described the company’s attempt to ease public anger over the new tariffs as one of the biggest PR own goals he had ever seen.
The energy price increases – three times the level of inflation – will affect 16 million customers and came in for particular condemnation because the parent group, Centrica, had pledged earlier in the year to use windfall profits from last winter to keep prices down.”
….”My Nan’s just been on the phone (no twitter) Should she burn the garden table or the chairs first to keep warm?” wrote one Twitter user. “Have you started an affiliate scheme with a funeral directors?” said another with reference to the number of elderly people who die in cold winters.
The hashtag “AskBG” was the top trend on UK Twitter within an hour of British Gas launching its chat; scores of tweets contained the words “greed” and “death”.
….He blamed the price rises on higher wholesale gas costs, charges for transport and distribution and the cost of government policies such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to help insulate homes. The ECO element alone will add £40 to average dual fuel bills in 2014, according to British Gas. However, this calculation was challenged by the energy secretary, who had also described the wider bill increases as disappointing.
Davey said: “I recently wrote to energy companies asking them to publish their costs of delivering the Energy Company Obligation. Today’s announcement shows why that is necessary, because British Gas ECO numbers just don’t add up when you look at what other energy companies are saying about their costs.”