|Area served United Kingdom|
Type of business Public
|Predecessor 1812 (as the Gas Light and Coke Company)
1948 (as the Area Gas Boards)
1973 (as the British Gas Corporation)|
Products Gas Electricity Boilers and central heating Plumbing and drains Solar paneling Home appliance services
Headquarters Cramlington, United Kingdom
British Gas plc was an energy and home services provider in the United Kingdom. It was formed when the British Gas Corporation was privatized in 1986 as a result of the privatizations instigated by the government of Margaret Thatcher.
The company was formed when the Conservative Government, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, introduced the Gas Act 1986 in which led to the privatisation of the British Gas Corporation, and on 8 December 1986 its shares floated on the London stock market. To encourage individuals to become shareholders, the offer was intensely advertised with the "If you see Sid...Tell him!" campaign. The initial public offering of 135p per share valued the company at £9 billion, the highest equity offering ever at the time.
The government also created an industry regulator, the Office of Gas Supply (Ofgas), to protect customer needs. It later became part of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem).
In preparation for the opening of the gas supply markets to competition in 1996, British Gas plc had to go through a major restructuring which separated the company into five divisions.
In June 1991, chairman Robert Evans sparked controversy by accepting a pay rise of 66% - 10 times above the rate of inflation at the time. This took his salary from £222,000 to £370,000, a pay rise which was condemned by the Labour Party as "sheer unbridled greed". This followed allegations of greed against the organisation a month earlier when it reported a 42% rise in pre-tax profits.
In 1997 the company was demerged in separate part which formed Centrica, BG Group and Transco. The main brand is still used today as a subsidiary of Centrica.