'Obscene': British Gas makes record profits due to price cap rises

British Gas' profits have rocketed £969 million thanks to energy price cap rises in the UK, ITV News' Joel Hills has the latest

Bill-payers are furious over revelations that British Gas was able to make record profits due to energy price cap rises in the UK, which provided the firm with a boost of around £500 million.

British Gas owner Centrica revealed its retail supplier business soared by 889% in in the six months to June 30, notching up £969 million in profits compared to £98 million a year earlier.

It said the result was buoyed as Ofgem’s price cap in the first half of the year – when customers saw their bills limited to £2,500 a year under the Energy Price Guarantee – allowed it to recoup losses seen a year earlier – to the tune of about £500 million.

Consumers reacted angrily to the news, questioning why household energy bills have been so high while providers have been making huge profits, while Labour urged Rishi Sunak to bring in an additional windfall tax to claw back some of the profits and redirect the cash back to struggling families.

But Mr Sunak insisted taxation of oil and gas giants is already bringing in money which is supporting people with the cost of living.

"We are now taxing these windfall profits of energy companies and we are using that money to help us pay around half of a typical family’s energy bill, particularly over the last winter.

“That support has been worth £1,500 to a typical family."

But social media users were angry. "British Gas profits are obscene when people cant afford to put their heating on," wrote one, while another said it was "bare-face robbery" to charge customers so much.

Labour's shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband said the PM was allowing British households to "pay the price" for energy firms making "huge profits from windfalls of war".

On Twitter he wrote: "Rishi Sunak protects oil and gas profits. Why won't the Conservatives stand up for the British people?"

He said the government should "be fixing the gaping loopholes in the windfall tax on oil and gas profits".

"Labour would act to close loopholes and bring in a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants to help tackle the cost of living crisis, alongside our plan to make Britain a clean energy superpower so we can lower bills for families and businesses."

Overall, Centrica swung to a £6.5 billion operating profit in the first six months of the year against operating losses of £1.1 billion a year earlier.

On an underlying basis, operating profits rose to £2.1 billion from £1.3 billion a year ago.

Last year Centrica more than tripled its adjusted operating profit, which reached £3.3 billion in 2022 amid turbulence in global energy markets.

Big swings in energy prices helped the company’s energy marketing and trading division, which made £1.4 billion in profit during the year, an enormous 1,900% increase from the year before.

Oil giant Shell reported on Thursday its profits have more than halved in the second quarter compared to its bumper 2022, and the business fell short of expectations.

The fossil fuel company said that its adjusted earnings had reached just under £3.9 billion in the three months, down from £8.9 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had expected adjusted earnings to reach close to £4.3 billion during the period.

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