Birmingham had its first street lighting by gas in 1818 when the Birmingham Gas Company was set up. The company appears not to have been the most efficient, and competition was soon established.
In 1874 Birmingham Council decided to buy out all the gas companies and the Birmingham Corporation Gas Committee was set up. From the start, the Birmingham Gas department was a success, making a profit which benefited the rate payers, while gas charges were reduced twice in the first five years. At the same time, the gasworks were modernised and enlarged, a hire-purchase system was set up to sell domestic gas cookers, and pre-payment gas meters were introduced on a large scale.
With nationalisation in 1949, the undertaking came under the control of the West Midlands Gas Board.