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British Gas vows to use ‘cold-snap’ profits to keep prices steady

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13/05/2013
British Gas has pledged to use cold weather profit to keep prices steady, as households struggle to meet the cost of rising energy prices.

Centrica, the parent company of Britain’s largest energy company, British Gas, announced today that it will use any benefit from the recent unseasonal cold snap to keep its energy prices steady.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “This is welcome news when the majority of consumers are struggling to pay their household energy bills.

“British Gas has recognised the pressure facing customers and is using the financial gain from the extended cold weather to maintain its competitiveness, In plain English, this means that British Gas customers should expect no further increase in prices at least for the foreseeable future.”

British Gas had hiked up its energy prices last November by 6%, taking its average household bill to £1,340 a year.

However, it also reported an 11% year-on-year increase in profits for its residential supply arm, resulting in it facing calls to cut prices again to alleviate the pressure on customers.

The Independent reported earlier that angry pensioners and disabled people will confront British Gas bosses today when the energy giant holds its Annual General Meeting.

Any further increase from the energy company would be its 4th since December 2010.

Robinson advised: “However, customers should still not be complacent. There is currently over £320 difference between the cheapest and most expensive energy tariffs on the market and with significant differences creeping in on standing charges it’s even more important that consumers shop around the whole market as even greater savings can be made.”‘Millions of consumers, especially in the private rented sector, live in poorly insulated homes which blow heat and money out of leaking roofs and windows.

Campaigners at Consumer Focus said that making it easier for households to navigate the energy market and get the best deals is very important.

It also says that there is a real need to make the whole energy supply chain more transparent so that households can see if prices are fair.

Adam Scorer, director of policy and external affairs at Consumer Focus, said: “But government and regulators need to address the underlying problems for consumers in their homes.

“Too many people cannot access the best deals which will remain online and through direct debit payments. Too many homes are incapable of being kept warm, affordably, because they are so energy inefficient. With a greater proportion of incomes being spent on essential services, many more households just will not have the money to pay their bills.

“Following the Hills review of Fuel Poverty, Government has started to reformulate its fuel poverty strategy and it will need to be serious, resourced and achievable if it is tackle one of the most stubborn and harmful consumer problems in Britain today.”

 

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