British Gas profits jump 44% as energy bills soar for millions of households

British Gas has reported a 44 per cent jump in profits driven by surging energy prices that have left UK households facing huge increases to bills.

Parent company Centrica said its retail unit British Gas Energy had been helped by households using more gas due to cold temperatures.

Centrica said it would pay back £27m of furlough payments it claimed during the pandemic and chief executive Chris O’Shea, has agreed to waive his £1.1m bonus.

Centrica has been able to cash in on high energy prices by selling gas that it bought cheaply in the summer back to the market for a profit.

An investigation by The Independent found that Britain’s big six energy firms have banked £7.7bn in operating profit in just five years.

Meanwhile, millions of households face a 54 per cent increase in energy bills when the new price cap is introduced in April, prompting calls for a windfall tax on suppliers’ profits.

Electricity and gas bills for a typical household will go up by £693 to £1,971 a year. The regulator says the increase is “driven by a record rise in global gas prices over the last six months”.

Gas prices have risen to record levels as demand increased following the Covid crisis while supplies have been constrained. Prices rose again on Thursday after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia is Europe’s largest supplier of gas.

Centrica chairman Scott Wheway said Mr O’Shea’s decision to forego his £1.1m bonus was taken in light of “the difficulties many…


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