Profiteering? British Gas customers hit again as energy giant fails to pass on profits hike

The company made £63 a second but is only passing on £37 a year cuts to customers

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The Independent Online

Customers of British Gas will feel let down by the energy giant after it posted a huge profits hike, but is only planning to cut gas bills by 5 per cent this month.

The £528m Britain’s biggest gas and electricity company made in the first six months of the year was more than it made in the whole of 2014.

Hard-pressed customers will understandably wonder why their bills haven’t reflected the increased profits, said Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd. “The Competition and Markets Authority has confirmed that household bills should be lower if the energy market was truly competitive,” he said. “Following the CMA's blistering assessment of this sector, we expect big suppliers to pass on falling costs to their customers quickly and fairly.”

British gas customers will benefit from an average annual cut of £37 from their gas bills from 20 August, and no reduction in electricity charges. Meanwhile they’ll see that British Gas reported profits of £63 a second.

“The news will be a hard pill to swallow for its customers, especially as so many went cold last winter to cope with sky-high bills,” said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch. She also pointed out that wholesale prices, which make up around half of energy bills, have plunged to their lowest level in five years.

“Given how much wholesale prices have fallen over the past two years, customers should be seeing double-digit percentage cuts to their bills,” she said.

British Gas customers could actually save hundreds of pounds by moving to one of the firm’s other tariffs, however they are unlikely to find out about it. That’s because it’s a new fixed price deal offered by Sainsbury’s Energy which British Gas runs on behalf of the supermarket.

USwitch reckons anyone on a standard dual fuel variable deal with British gas could save a staggering £252 a year by making the switch.

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