Powergen enters installation and repair business

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The Independent Online

Powergen is to follow the lead set by British Gas and offer to service its customers' boilers as well as fuel them. The country's second-largest energy supplier will present plans today to provide a range of new products to householders, including central heating insurance, boiler installation and repairs.

Powergen is to follow the lead set by British Gas and offer to service its customers' boilers as well as fuel them. The country's second-largest energy supplier will present plans today to provide a range of new products to householders, including central heating insurance, boiler installation and repairs.

As part of its push, Powergen said it was stepping up the pace of its plans to revolutionise how households obtain their energy. Its "WhisperGen" boiler, which generates its own electricity as well as providing heating and hot water, will be available across the UK from next year, after the success of a limited launch last year. These personal power stations can cut household energy bills by £150 a year, the company said. In addition, any spare electricity can be sold back to Powergen.

The group, acquired by Germany's E.ON four years ago, estimated that the home energy services market will be worth about £100m a year to it within five years.

Peter Westwood, the new division's general manager, said: "We see this market as significantly underdeveloped and we feel there is a considerable opportunity for Powergen to move into this area and offer a range of high-quality products."

Powergen plans to roll out its new services to its 9 million customers on a phased basis. It has teamed up with Domestic & General to offer its new gas central heating breakdown insurance, which it promised would undercut that available from British Gas, the dominant supplier, by at least 10 per cent.

"Our research indicates that customers welcome the idea of receiving home services products from a trusted provider. We believe many customers will appreciate the peace of mind and reliability of services we can offer in comparison to calling an unfamiliar plumber or electrician," Mr Westwood said.

Powergen said it had placed an order for 80,000 of its new boilers with the New Zealand-based company that has developed the technology. The homeowner's answer to the National Grid costs £3,000 to install - about £500 more than a conventional boiler. The company said that, on average, it would take householders four years to recoup the cost.

It launched the new boilers, which emit 20 per cent less carbon dioxide than traditional boilers, last November across East Anglia, the East Midlands, the North-west and Yorkshire. The company said the launch had been a success, with 400 units due to be installed by July 2005.

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