Centrica rejects lower bills despite record profits

British Gas owner Centrica posted record profits yesterday, prompting fresh calls for cheaper prices for hard-pressed families.

The energy giant made £2.4bn last year, but even then complained that "mild weather" had cut profits at its UK subsidiary to just £522m.

That means British Gas still pocketed a healthy £1.43m each day in 2011. As for claims of weather-hit profits, research published yesterday suggested the true reason people cut their heating by a fifth last year was because of soaring charges. The high cost of energy forced 71 per cent to use less heating, according to the uSwitch research. Less than 25 per cent cut down because of the weather.

Centrica's chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, rejected calls for fairer prices but said British Gas would try to keep bills "as low as possible".

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