The world’s biggest energy firm has begun paying its bills using its natural gas-powered energy platform, offering customers free energy in return for filling out a short survey.

Blackstone’s energy platform was unveiled in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday as part of a $20m funding drive aimed at bringing down energy bills.

The new platform is the latest effort by the firm to tackle a global problem of underpriced and unreliable natural gas in the form of blackstone gas.

Energy-efficiency, conservation and clean energy Blackstone announced that its energy platform could now be used to power the homes of customers in the Houston area, including the Austin metro area.

“Blackstone’s mission is to make natural gas affordable and accessible to everyday people,” Blackstone Chief Executive Officer Richard Branson said in a statement.

“This new initiative will make Blackstone a leading provider of affordable, reliable and clean natural gas.”

Blackstone has been one of the world’s most successful energy companies.

It has seen its stock soar more than 60 per cent in the past decade, driven by the huge increase in demand for gas in recent years, particularly in developing markets.

Its stock has doubled in value over the past two years, to $22.50 per share.

In its first quarter of 2017, Blackstone had revenues of $2.8bn, compared to $1.8 billion in the same period last year.

Blackstar’s main competitors are Natural Gas Capital, which is based in New York, and the Texas-based GasBuddy, which operates in California.

“Energy independence” is key to the firm’s future, Branson added.

The company said that the platform would allow customers to choose from a range of energy options, including electric, natural gas and hydrogen, and then select a service contract.

Customers will also be able to monitor how much electricity they use per week and then save money by signing up for a free energy account.

The platform also offers customers the option to pay with cash or credit card, although Blackstone said it would not charge a fee for such a payment.

The firm said that it would also begin offering its customers an option to buy their own gas to use at home, and offer an option for customers to use their own natural gas for electricity.

The initiative comes as the price of gas in Houston has risen sharply over the last year and a half, and energy analysts say that the city’s population has also seen a rise in energy usage.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince said in February that the US could be on track to hit its highest-ever peak in the use of gas by 2040.