British Gas profits up 11%

British Gas has announced its profits are up 11% from last year to £606m. Its owner Centrica, which also owns Scottish Gas, has announced its annual operating profits are up 14%.

Why should British Gas make any profit at all?

Some Twitter users questioned why British Gas needed to make a profit at all:

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@britishgas could you operate as a break even non profit organisation? #AskBG We all need power so you won't go under. Puzzled.

British Gas replied:

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Hi @norwichhpexpert Not really. In that model there's no opportunity for investment in future energy supply #AskBG http://t.co/ABOY2T25hv

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Hi @cbavington We want to keep Britain's lights on so we need profit to invest in future energy supply #AskBG http://t.co/ABOY2T25hv

British Gas said any customers who required further help with their account should call 0800 048 02020.

The questions not answered in British Gas Q&A

A selection of #AskBG questions have so far gone unanswered:

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@britishgas the video is all well and good. But are we going to see the prices decrease now your are clearly making a profit? #AskBG

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@britishgas could you operate as a break even non profit organisation? #AskBG We all need power so you won't go under. Puzzled.

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?@britishgas Hello Bert! Whose stapler did you pinch to get lumbered with this job today? #AskBG

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British Gas offers Twitter Q&A

Following today's announcement of a 11% profit increase, British Gas is offering to answer customer questions in a Twitter Q&A:

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Our Customer Service Director, Bert Pijls, is answering your questions until 2pm. Tweet using the #AskBG hashtag.

One Twitter user asked if today's profit announcement would mean a future price cut:

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@britishgas After November's price rise, are you now going to lower prices as your reported profits indicate you're doing all right? #AskBG

Rather than give a direct answer, Bert Pijls linked to a YouTube video:

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Hi @butterfly494_ great question, difficult to answer on Twitter! Check out this video for more detail http://t.co/OwQoPFhJEE

No 10: Govt and energy industry should help families

by - Former Political Correspondent

Asked about the profits of the British Gas owner Centrica rising by 11%, the Prime Minister's spokesman said:

What consumers and the industry expect is that the Government and the regulator should be working together to help families.

That's what we are doing and that's why the Energy Bill will enshrine in law the PM's desire that consumers get the best tariffs.

Centrica: Tariff simplification means 'discounted deals disappear'

Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw told ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg that he agreed with David Cameron that "there has been too much confusion and proliferation of different tariff types."

He said simplifying pricing would mean that "the range between cheapest and most expensive is going to narrow" and that "the deeply discounted deals are disappearing".

British Gas was writing to customers every six months to advise on the cheapest tariffs available, he added.

Centrica boss: Gas profit margins fell year-on-year

Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw told ITV News Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg that British Gas profits rose because of increased consumption and that margin per household actually fell.

He said that wholesale gas costs rose "by about 13%" and not all of that increase was passed on to customers, "which is why our margins actually went down year-on-year."

"We had a cold winter - much colder than the previous winter, which was actually unusually warm - so we sold a bit more gas, which is why the British Gas profits were up," he added.

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Flint: PM shouldn't let Centrica 'get away' with bill rises

Caroline Flint MP, Labour's Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said David Cameron should not let Centrica "get away" with profit increases at the same time as price rises above inflation:

People will not understand why just a few months ago British Gas claimed they had no option but to put up their prices when now it looks like they’re making huge profits on the back of spiralling bills for hard-pressed consumers.

It is unacceptable that David Cameron is letting the energy companies get away with inflation-busting price rises when they are already making huge profits and when people can least afford it.

The time has come for a complete overhaul of our energy market.

– Caroline Flint
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