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Centrica issues profit warning - 18/11/2011

Consumers looking to compare energy prices in order to get the best deals may be interested to hear that one supplier has issued a warning of reduced profits for the year.

Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, stated its residential operations have been running at a loss since April due to a combination of higher wholesale costs and a reduction in the amount of energy being used by households.

It observed the average home consumed ten per cent less gas in the first ten months of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier because of improvements in efficiency, as well as the recent mild weather resulting in fewer people using their heating.

Commenting on the warning, director of independent price comparison website Mark Todd stated Centrica's figures highlight that the cost of keeping a home warm is becoming too expensive for many people.

He said: "As well as the mild weather, people are increasingly turning down their heating to save money as they simply can't afford their energy bills."

British Gas' reported loss of customers is also a result of the large increases in bills recently, Mr Todd observed, adding the number of people switching suppliers through price comparison services such as is currently 50 per cent higher than normal.

He therefore urged British Gas to cut its prices as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this, noting: "Consumers want low cost tariffs and any company that offers these will gain lots of new customers."

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