British Gas profits halve but household customers numbers up

British Gas operating profit from residential customers fell by 50% in the first half of this year.

BritishGas

Centrica, owner of British Gas, says profit in the division fell to £270m, partly attributed to a steep increase in commodity prices, with wholesale gas prices in the UK up 30% on the winter period.

The company posted results the day after British Gas was hit with a swingeing fine of £2.5m by regulator Ofgem for poor handling of customer complaints.

British Gas said it did pull in 159,000 new residential customers in the six months to the end of June, which it attributes to competitive pricing, its partnership with Sainsbury’s and the Nectar loyalty scheme, “and high levels of customer service”.

The company report says: “The number of British Gas residential accounts increased and we continue to make progress in improving our levels of customer service.”

Earlier this month it announced a double digit percentage hike in customer prices, the second of the utility companies to do so after Scottish Power.

The parent company has seen a drop in adjusted operating profit of 19% but still made £1.26bn. It expects to deliver year on year earnings growth in 2011, subject to the any unusual weather patterns and change in commodity prices.

Centrica’s UK business units also include Centrica Energy and Centrica Storage.

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