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British Gas is giving away electricity for free. The country's biggest supplier has quietly launched a new tariff offering free power on one day of the weekend.

The two options, both called HomeEnergy FreeTime, give free electricity between 9am and 5pm on either Saturdays or Sundays until July 2017, although a 26p standing charge applies.

Prices outside these times are fixed. Householders signing-up need a smart meter which the company says it will fit free to eligible homes.

You can leave before the deal ends without being hit with a penalty fee.

British Gas denied it was encouraging people to waste energy and says it will look to spot those abusing the free element.

The tariff is being run as a pilot, so it could be dropped at any time.

But there is, of course, a price for signing up for that free electricity. The average FreeTime dual fuel bill is PS1,001 a year, just PS43 less than the firm's typical standard equivalent bill.

And there are much cheaper deals elsewhere, including First Utility's Fixed June 2017 tariff which costs on average PS769 a year, albeit with penalty fees for leaving early.

ScottishPower's Online Fixed Price Energy May 2017 deal costs a typical PS793 a year, but with cancellation fees. Ann Robinson, from price comparison website uSwitch, said: "This is one of the first special tariffs and you can expect to see more.

"But people need to think carefully about whether it is right for them."

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Title Annotation:Business; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2016
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