British Gas has announced operating profits of £742 million for last year. The Big Six company also announced that it had increased its number of customers by 267,000 for 2010 to 16 million.
The news comes just months after the power company announced a 7% price hike in utility bills, which they blamed on rising wholesale prices.
While Centrica, British Gas’s parent company, announced pre-tax profits of £2.8 billion, price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com said the rise in profits was: “a bitter pill to swallow for Britain’s hard-pressed households.”
Centrica Chairman, Sir Roger Carr, said: “the combination of higher energy prices and rising non-commodity costs necessitated an increase in our gas and electricity prices in December. We recognise the impact that higher energy prices have on our customers. We continue to work closely with all our customers to help them manage their energy consumption.”
Ofgem, the government watchdog, said they would review the retail energy market last November, as critics voiced outrage over apparently excessive profits.
A spokesperson for Ofgem said: “It’s up to individual companies to tell their customers how much they charge and how much they earn.”