Consumer watchdog Energywatch and uSwitch, the price comparison site, have slammed British Gas over five-fold profit increase last year. The Centrica-owned utilities giant today (February 21) reported its profits were up from £95m in 2006 to £571m in 2007.
Centrica says the British Gas profits also contributed to a 40% increase in its group-wide earnings, which surged to £1.95bn for the year. The group says soaring wholesale costs caused profits to dip in the second half of 2007 and it claims that further rises in the wholesale market led to the price increases of 15% for consumers earlier this year.
USwitch director of consumer policy, Ann Robinson, says: “Revealing huge profits only a month after hitting customers with an inflation-busting price hike is like having a £571m elephant in the living room – it was never going to go unnoticed.”
Energywatch has now renewed its calls for a Government investigation into the energy market. Adam Scorer, director of campaigns, says: “They need to ask whether the energy market is stacked against consumers.”