British Gas profits soar 31% despite warmest December on record

Meanwhile, wholesale gas prices have tumbled, while consumers’ bills have gone down slightly

December 2015 was the warmest on record, yet that didn’t stop Britons from reaching for the thermostat, increasing gas consumption.

The rise in gas use saw profits at British Gas soar from £439m in 2014 to £571m for the 12 months to 31 January 2015.

British Gas is the UK’s biggest energy supplier and the largest of the Big Six energy companies.

The company announced a 5.1% cut to consumers’ energy bills last week, following a fall in wholesale gas prices, however, they were the last of the Big Six to do so, sparking accusations they had maintained the higher prices through the colder months, despite paying less for the gas themselves.

Wholesale gas prices fell a staggering 57% this time last year, and last week’s 5.1% reduction came after mounting pressure on energy firms to pass savings on to customers.

Meanwhile, the company that owns British Gas, Centrica, an energy company that supplies the UK with oil and gas, saw its overall profits fall due to the collapse of oil prices and also the fall in the wholesale price of gas. Could the two be linked?

Apparently not! Speaking to the BBC, Centrica chief executive said British Gas’s huge profit surge was nothing to do with getting much cheaper gas from its ailing parent company.

He said: “The reason the profits went up in 2015 versus 2014 actually is very simple - it’s about the weather and about consumption.

“We saw a very mild 2014 and we saw a more normal 2015 and therefore the amount of energy that our customers used went up and therefore the actual total profit went up.”

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