British Gas more than doubled profits for the first half of the year after cold weather prompted home-based customers to increase their heating, and small businesses began to roopen their doors after Covid-19 lockdowns last year.
Profits for UK 's largest energy supplier hit 172 million sterling for the first six months of the year, up from £ 78million in the same period last year, even after losing 114,000 home energy customers since the end of the year. 'last year.
Chris O ' Shea, CEO of British Gas owner , Centrica said the unusually cold start to the year, compared to an unusually mild spring in 2020, helped boost its first-half profits by around $ 50million. pounds sterling.
British Gas has also benefited from an increase in the regulator's price capr energy, which has grown by an average of £ 96 per year for 11 million households using a standard dual-fuel energy tariff. Almost a quarter of this increase, which hit billpayers in April, was implemented to help energy companies cover the cost of households who could not afford to pay their bills during the pandemic.
O 'Shea stated that British Gas had not seen any "material impact " from unpaid bills since outbreak of the pandemic because of the government's job retention program and because "when customers can pay, they pay".
The rise profit from British Gas helped Centrica offset losses in its service business due to protracted strike action after union deadlock on plans to" fire and rehire Thousands of employees under tighter contract terms. Profits at British Gas Services, which employ engineers to install and maintain boilers and home heating systems, fell to £ 60million in the first half of the year, up from £ 94million the year before.
The controversial project was part of a major turnaround program at Centrica, which has failed in recent years due to its high costs and increasing competition in the power supply market.
O 'Shea was able to reduce Centrica's net debt from nearly £ 3 billion to £ 93 million after the sale of its US energy business, Direct Energy.But the company has struggled to sell its stake in UK nuclear power plants and its North Sea business, Spirit Energy. Centrica may consider a new sales structure for Spirit Energy and consider retaining its share of EDF Energy's nuclear power plants to help play a role in low-carbon power generation to help meet bottom lines. UK zero, O 'Shea said.