Unusually cold weather boosts Centrica profits

Suzie Neuwirth
FTSE 100 utility company Centrica, which owns British Gas, yesterday announced that average gas consumption in the UK rose 18 per cent in the first four months of 2013, and that it will be using the profits from the increased uptake to freeze domestic energy tariffs.

The British firm said that the exceptionally cold weather over the period had also increased the average residential electricity consumption by three per cent compared to the same period in 2012.

“Recognising the economic pressures facing many of our customers, the board has determined that any benefit arising from the exceptionally cold weather will be used to maintain our price competitiveness,” said Centrica.

“As a result of this decision, we expect the residential energy supply business to deliver an operating profit for the full year in line with expectations, weighted towards the first half.”

In yesterday’s statement, Centrica also said that it had gained 28,000 new residential energy customers in the first four months, which reflects “a competitive pricing position and continued good levels of customer service, leading to higher levels of customer retention”.

The company announced that its nuclear output in the UK had increased by eight per cent in the first four months of 2013 year-on-year.

In a separate statement, Centrica said it had appointed Michael Linn as a non-executive director.