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British Gas raked in £800 million in profits, sparking outrage amid cost of living crisis | UK | News


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extreme hd iptv
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British Gas is set to spark fresh anger by revealing profits rocketed to more than £800million last year.

The country’s biggest supplier, like rivals, has benefited from industry watchdog Ofgem allowing it to claw back money through higher bills.

British Gas, with 7.5 million customers, made £72million in profit in 2022, lower than in 2021 because of soaring wholesale energy costs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But analysts expect a big turnaround when owner Centrica reports group results on February 14.

Investment bank Investec predicts British Gas’s supply arm raked in £816million last year.

Rival UBS has pencilled in a haul of £895million.

Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “These outrageous profits will come as a kick in the teeth to households who’ve spent the best part of a week shivering in cold homes.

“Last winter we saw around 5,000 excess winter deaths caused by living in cold homes and we know people are turning off their heating because they can’t afford the bills.”

Last July British Gas announced it made a record £969million in the first six months of 2023.

The haul was boosted by a one-off of around £500million after regulator Ofgem allowed suppliers to recoup past losses through its price cap mechanism.

Forecasts suggest British Gas made a loss in the second half of last year.

Analysts predict profits at Centrica as a whole dropped from £3.3billion in 2022 to anywhere between £2.5billion and £2.7billion last year.

Investec analyst Martin Young said Centrica’s cash position was “significantly better than we had previously estimated.”

Centrica declined to comment on the estimated profits at British Gas and the group.

It came as Chris O’Shea, boss of Centrica, recently admitted he could not justify his £4.5million pay and perks payout for 2022.

The package was 77 times more than Centrica’s average worker got, and 128 times its 25% lowest paid staff.

Quizzed on the BBC Breakfast, Mr O’Shea, 50, said: “I’m incredibly fortunate.

“I don’t set my own pay, that’s set by our remuneration committee.

“You can’t justify a salary of that size.”

Mr O’Shea turned down a £1.1million bonus in 2021, but took one worth £1.4million for 2022.

He has yet to reveal if he will waive his 2023 annual bonus, if offered one.

It could be worth up to double his salary – or £1.6million.

His base salary rose from £790,000 to £815,000 in April last year.

Most households are on standard energy tariffs which are subject to Ofgem’s price cap.

The cap rose to £1,928 a year at the start of January for a typical household on a standard tariff paying by direct debit.

But experts predict it will fall to an average £1,620 in April, then tumble to £1,497 a year in July.

Ofgem allows suppliers to make a certain profit margin on standard tariffs, which has increased from 1.9% to 2.34% to allow them to recover the impact of customer bad debts.

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