British Gas urged to freeze prices after cold winter fires up profits

 
Suzie Neuwirth
BRITISH Gas owner Centrica yesterday unveiled a surge in half-year profits, prompting consumer groups to urge the firm to freeze energy bills this winter.

Operating profit across the entire business rose nine per cent to £1.58bn, while profits in British Gas’ residential energy supply unit rose three per cent, due to an unusually cold winter raising consumption.

British Gas invited criticism when it raised prices by six per cent at the start of last winter, leading the firm to promise in May that it would use profits to maintain prices at current levels. British Gas has not promised to maintain prices this winter.

“Profits are up from last year, so we would urge British Gas to help quell customers’ fears and go one step further from its May pledge and commit to a price freeze for the rest of the year,” said Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch. Shares closed 1.35 per cent up at 391p.