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British Gas announce surge in profits due to the cold weather

Press Release   •   Feb 27, 2013 15:13 GMT

British Gas has reported a surge in profits just months after consumers were dealt a blow with price hikes, with the colder weather leading to customers using more gas.

Profits from its residential energy supply arm rose 11% from a year earlier to £606 million. It said gas consumption had risen by 12%.

But there has been some criticism that the company increased its prices in November when profits were rising.

All of Britain's big six energy suppliers, which control the majority of the retail market, raised tariffs this winter, prompting a public outcry and leading the government to promise action to ensure consumers get the best deal.

Centrica, which owns British Gas, reported an adjusted operating profit of £2.7 billion for 2012, up 14% from 2011.

However, Last year Centrica paid over £1 billion tax and invested over £2 billion to secure new sources of energy for the UK.

It added it has over 700,000 individual shareholders in the company, many through pension funds, so it is in their interests that the firm makes money.

Chris Jansen, managing director of services and commercial at Centrica, claimed the colder winter last year contributed to the rise in profits.

He told Daybreak: "I completely understand out profits announced today will create a reaction with customers."

"I think it's important to remember that in 2011 it was a very, very mild winter, so the country used a lot less gas, and actually our profits in 2011 were 20% down on 2010."

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