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British Gas urged to cut prices as profits jump by 23%

British Gas has seen year-on-year profits increase 23% from £281 million to £345 million, prompting a call to pass on the profits to households in the form of lower bills.

A spokesman for the company said that ‘higher UK residential energy consumption’  following ‘the exceptionally mild weather’ over the winter period had contributed to the profits.

British Gas had previously increased its prices in December 2010 and again in August 2011 by 24.9% or £256 in total, but recently dropped its electricity prices by 5% on average.

The average household energy bill for a British Gas customer was £1,100 in January 2011 – today it is £1,260, £160 or 14.5% higher.

British Gas average annual household bills:

Date

Annual Bill Size*

1st Jan 2004

£543

1st Jan 2005

£642

1st Jan 2006

£735

1st Jan 2007

£1,002

1st Jan 2008

£821

1st Jan 2009

£1,176

1st Jan 2010

£1,066

1st Jan 2011

£1,100

Current

£1,260

*Annual bill sizes based on a medium user profile on a standard plan. Customers using 3,300kWh and 16,500kWh gas, paying on receipt of bill with bill sizes averaged across all regions. 

Average household energy bills:

Supplier January 2011 Current bill size*
British Gas £1,100 £1,260
EDF Energy £1,046 £1,202
E.ON £1,061 £1,260
npower £1,095 £1,244
ScottishPower £1,211 £1,349
SSE £1,094 £1,235
Average £1,101 £1,258

*Based on a medium user consuming 3,300 kWh of electricity and 16,500 kWh of gas, paying on receipt of bill with bill sizes averaged across all regions.

Price cuts urged

Responding to the announcement, Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, said: “These soaring profits show that British Gas could and should cut its prices ahead of winter. This would go some way to acknowledging the pressure customers are under as they struggle to afford their household bills.

“It will also ensure that they too get to share the benefits of lower wholesale prices. With over eight in ten households having cut down or rationed their energy use last winter because of cost, any reduction would be welcomed.

“As Britain’s largest supplier, if British Gas cuts its prices other suppliers will be under pressure to follow suit. A second wave of price cuts this year will not only help customers to better afford their bills, but would also be an olive branch signalling the industry’s true commitment to rebuilding trust and confidence with its customers.

“But as we inch towards winter, I would also remind consumers that they too can take steps to cut the cost of their energy. There is currently just under £300 difference between the most expensive and the cheapest energy tariff on the market. This is a substantial saving that can be boosted still further by ensuring that your home is energy-efficient too.”

Learn more

Cheapest energy supplier – Who is the cheapest supplier for you?

Gas and electricity price changes – Keep up to date with the latest gas and electricity prices rises and price cuts.

Energy-saving – Our energy-saving hub can help guide you through the energy-efficiency maze, with advice on everything from solar and insulation to energy monitors.

 

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