Thursday 14 January 2021 7:28 am

British Gas owner Centrica still suffering from fall in business power demand

British Gas owner Centrica said that the coronavirus pandemic was continuing to heap pressure on its finances, with business electricity demand still down as people continue to work from home.

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In the second half of the year, the firm said that business energy demand was down 15 per cent, compared to 30 per cent in the first half.

Despite the slump, the company said that its performance had been resilient in the second half.

Perhaps responding to this, shares in the firm rose 2.8 per cent this morning.

Boiler installations also picked up in the period but were still down 15 per cent compared to last year.

Centrica said that it was “cautious” ahead of the new year, adding that the return of restrictions would put “continued pressure” on its services.

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However, it added that the restructuring plan launched last year, which would see the firm cut 5,000 staff, was still on track.

The trading update came a day after Stockport MP Navendu Mishra called for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to investigate a British Gas backlog dispute.

Centrica has been accused of provoking a strike which has left its ‘HomeCare’ customers without cover.

Writing to the FCA this week, Labour MP Navendu Mishra called for an investigation into Centrica’s failure to cover homeowners during a British Gas engineer strike and whether their patchy cover was appropriately explained to customers when they first purchased.

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A British Gas spokesperson said that in the “rare” case it is unable to fulfil the HomeCare contract, customers would be remediated accordingly.