British Gas Owner Profits Rise 15%

The owner of British Gas (Centrica) has released their financial results for the first part of the financial year. The operating profit for the company was £1.45 billion.

The British Gas residential energy division had an operating profit of £345 million, up 23%. It’s expected the reason for the increase was because of the ‘colder than usual’ temperatures the UK experienced between April and June.

British Gas: Costs May Go Up

Unfortunately we shouldn’t expect the cost of household gas to go down anytime soon. In fact, British Gas is warning that the prices could be on the rise because wholesale gas prices are set to increase.

British Gas Profits in Context

British Gas has achieved profits in their residential energy division of £345 million for the first 6 months. That equates to £22 profit per customer for 6 months, or £3.64 per month.

Over the course of a year £44 profit per customer doesn’t seem like a lot. But when it’s multiplied out across the 15.8 million British Gas customers you can see how the profits are generated.

British Gas reduced their prices by 5% four months ago but on today’s results British Gas is still making £2million every day!

Cost of Fuel

There are millions of people living in the UK in fuel poverty, where they can’t or won’t fuel their property in fear of the bill that will arrive shortly after. British Gas and other energy suppliers provide support to monitor and manage a person’s bill, but knowing a person can’t put the heating on because it’s too expensive doesn’t keep a people warm. It simply means a person won’t get into fuel debt.

Steven, 45, contacted Debt Support Trust last week to ask for help with his debts. He explained that on jobseekers allowance he didn’t have enough money to feed himself and fuel his house. He was eating cold tinned food and keeping his electricity off as much as possible. When the bill came in, despite keeping his fuel to a minimum, he told a Debt Support Trust volunteer he dreaded opening the letter because he knew he couldn’t afford it.

A yearly saving of every £30 would help Steven on his energy fuel bills.

There’s no easy answer on resolving the fuel poverty problem. The cost of gas when British Gas purchase it wholesale is too high for some people in the UK, even without the £44 annual profit. It’s a fundamental problem which the Government’s energy division is no doubt working tirelessly on, but in the meantime, people like Steven will have to wait for an affordable answer, struggling to survive.

Debt Problems and Fuel Costs

Gas and electricity are priority expenditures, along with rent / mortgage, food and council tax. These are all essential to help you live and as a result should be paid first, before any unsecured debt. If you have unsecured debt you should contact a registered charity.

For face to face debt advice contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will try and help you save money and support you with your debts. If you would prefer telephone based debt advice and help with your energy bills then you can telephone Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.