Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Energy: British Gas owner Centrica reports dip in profits

09:21 20 February 2014

British Gas owner Centrica has reported a dip of profits.

British Gas owner Centrica has reported a dip of profits.

Archant

British Gas owner Centrica today revealed a £571million profit haul from its residential energy arm for 2013, months after raising its gas and electricity prices.

shares

It marks a 6% fall compared with the previous year’s figure of £606m but is unlikely to calm public anger over rising energy costs.

Centrica said British Gas shed 2% of residential customer accounts in 2013 to 15.3million as households switched to other suppliers following its move to increase tariffs by 9.2% on average from November as part of a round of painful winter bill rises across the industry.

It added that another 100,000 had quit the group so far this year, but customer switching was now “stabilising” after it scaled back its price rise by 3.2% following a shake-up of the Government’s so-called green levies on bills.

Chief executive Sam Laidlaw said that public and investor trust in the energy industry had been “damaged” by the threat of price controls and political intervention.

He attacked Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze tariffs if the party wins power, saying it was “not a credible solution”.

He said: “We firmly believe that any form of price control in a competitive market is not the answer and is not in the best interests of customers, and this has been clearly demonstrated by experience in other markets.

“Such proposals create both short-term uncertainty for all energy suppliers and longer-term additional costs for customers,” he added.

The group’s shares have plunged by more than a fifth since autumn following Labour’s price freeze pledge, with the stock driven down further after Energy Secretary Ed Davey recently called for a full-scale investigation into the energy market that could see British Gas broken up.

In a letter, Mr Davey urged competition authorities to “think radically” as they consider whether to launch a probe.

Across the Centrica group, operating profits were 2% lower at £2.7billion last year.

Higher wholesale prices and unseasonally warm weather at the end of last year saw British Gas suffer an 18% slump in operating profit in the final six months of 2013, which offset a better start to the year.

Centrica said it “can’t make promises” over prices for the year ahead, but added it would look to keep prices “as low as we can for as long as we can”.

It said this year’s milder winter weather was likely to see bills come down by 9% or 10% as households have not had to crank up the heating.

British Gas said it was “confident we can go back to customer growth” after the exodus since November, helped by the recent launch of new fixed price deals.

It revealed profit margins for its gas business stood at 8.9% in 2013, far higher than the 0.8% electricity margin.

shares

0 comments

The vandals tore through Bury St Edmunds

A drunken “night of madness” saw vandals rack up over £5,000 of damage to cars, pubs and property as they roamed the streets of Bury St Edmunds.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral overlooking colourful displays in the Abbey Gardens

Suffolk’s most important religious building has been awarded a £300,000 Government grant to pay for urgent roof repairs.

Josephine Murphy

An 86-year-old woman who had gone missing from Clacton has been found safe and well

Aftermath of a barn fire in Holton.

A television antiques expert has appealed for help rebuilding his eco-friendly arts centre in Suffolk after a major blaze destroyed the historic sawmill that was to be its showroom and workshops.

Tim Yeo

An outgoing Suffolk MP has denied reports he stands to make more than £500,000 from the sale of his second home, which was part-subsidised by the taxpayer – saying he plans to keep the London property.

Stansted Airport

Aircraft pilots were targeted with lasers around Stansted Airport 45 times last year.

Darsham Nurseries head chef Lola DeMille and chef Tom Eagle in the cafe where they are donating money from one of the dishes to the World Land Trust.

An international conservation charity based in Suffolk is one of three organisations to benefit from a new campaign raising awareness about the impact of meat production on health, welfare and the environment.

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House

Up to 23 jobs could go in a major shake-up of Suffolk County Council’s education services.

Latitude Festival, at the Henham Estate near Southwold

Suffolk poet Luke Wright has seen the Latitude festival grow from a modest boutique gathering in 2006 to one of Britain’s biggest music and arts events.

Last year's Colchester Half Marathon.

Thousands of people will be pounding the streets of Colchester tomorrow as the town’s half marathon event returns.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages