British Gas owner profits from cold winterColdest winter in a decade helps energy giant

19 May 2009

Electricity pylon

Unlike gas, mains electricity is available almost everywhere in the UK

A cold winter and the heaviest snowfall in 18 years in some parts of the UK have helped to keep British Gas' parent company on track to beat its 2008 operating profit of £1.94bn this year.

Parent company Centrica has announced that it had ‘performed well in the year to date, due mainly to the combination of cold weather which increased demand for gas and power in the UK’.

Electricity price cut too late to reduce winter bills

British Gas was the last major energy company to reduce its electricity prices on 8 May - when it cut electricity bills by 10%, or £132 a year for the average dual fuel customer. It claims its cuts are the biggest of all the major energy providers, both for gas and electricity. British Gas also says it is now the cheapest electricity provider on the market – however customers won't see the reductions applied to their higher winter bills.

The British Gas price reduction follows earlier electricity price cuts by the other five major energy providers - Eon, EDF Energy, Npower, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy. Of the 'big six' energy companies, British Gas was the first to cut its gas prices this year, with a price reduction coming into effect in February. Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy have also reduced their gas prices this year.

Compare energy suppliers with Which? Switch

You can check whether the recent price cuts makes it worth switching energy suppliers by using Which? Switch. People switching their gas and electricity to a dual fuel tariff through Which? Switch saved on average £257 on their annual energy bills. 

The £257 saving is the average annual saving per household that switched to a dual fuel tariff via our Which? Switch service between 1 August and 31 December 2008

A better energy deal

Reena Chityal of Which? Switch said: ‘British Gas is the last of the big six providers to cut electricity prices this year. Although we welcome the price cut, it's a case of too little too late as consumers have already seen their largest bills of the year over the particularly cold winter we've experienced.

‘With the recent price changes and new competitive tariffs on the market, we are urging consumers to compare energy deals to check they are still on the cheapest tariff. By switching suppliers, tariffs or just the way that you pay your bill to monthly direct debit could save hundreds of pounds.'

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