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British Gas announces 3% rise in profits

Energy supplier urged not to raise prices as consumers struggle to cope with increasing household costs

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Centrica, which owns British Gas, today released its interim results for the period ended 30 June 2013.

The statement reveals that British Gas Residential’s operating profits are up from £345 million for the same time period last year, to £356 million.

Revenue impacted by rising costs

The release states that although British Gas increased its revenue, due to high gas demand during a particularly long and cold winter, this was offset by rising commodity costs as well as network and environmental charges.

The company stopped short of guaranteeing consumers energy prices would not be increased and stated: “We announced in May that […] any benefit arising from increased consumption would be used to maintain our price competitiveness. In this context, we have absorbed the significant increase in environmental costs during the period.”

In November 2012, British Gas increased gas and electricity prices by 6%.

British Gas urged to ‘commit to a price freeze’

Speaking on the results, Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “The fact that British Gas has absorbed increasing costs so far this year will be of cold comfort to consumers who may be fearing the worst – especially with rumours of price rises. Profits are up from last year, so we would urge British Gas to help quell customer’s fears and go one step further from its May pledge and commit to a price freeze for the rest of the year.

“People are already starting to worry about next winter and the cost of their energy bills and high energy prices have a big impact on consumers. Last winter, almost seven in ten households (69%) went without heating at some point to keep their energy costs down[4]. At the same time, over a third of people (35%) say that cutting back on energy usage is affecting their quality of life or health[4].

“This is why we would urge suppliers to reduce the pressure on consumers by guaranteeing that they won’t hike prices this winter – and it would be great to see Britain’s biggest supplier, British Gas, taking the lead.

“But if consumer’s worst fears are confirmed and we see energy prices rocket again, many will fear the coming winter more than ever. Unfortunately there is little to suggest that consumers will be protected from price hikes so it’s vital that they act now to ensure that they are paying as little as possible for their energy bills. For those concerned about ever-increasing prices, a fixed price plan could offer the peace of mind that’s needed as we head into winter. And with some fixed plans costing less than standard ones consumers can not only enjoy protection from further increases but actually cut their bills.”

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