British Gas Increases Profits and Customer Numbers
Centrica the parent company of British Gas announced that profits had increased significantly with an additional increase in the number of residential customer accounts they managed.
The financial results from British Gas showed that they had added an additional 200,000 residential accounts in the first four months of this year taking their total to 15.9 million of the energy households in the UK. They also reported that gas usage had increased by an average of 7% during one of the coldest and longest winters on record with electricity consumption also increasing by an average of 2%.
As British Gas goes head to head with the other big 5 energy companies such as Eon, EDF, Scottish and Southern and Npower they said in their results that their residential supply is likely to perform strongly in the remainder of the year.
Smart Meter Roll out Gathers Pace
The roll out to customers of so called smart meters has also begun in earnest. The UK government has set targets so that every home in the UK will have a smart meter installed in their home so that they can monitor and analyse their electricity and gas consumption on a regular basis. The cost is down to the energy companies themselves so British Gas is installing meters in homes where they would have to be replaced in any case. So far in the first four months of this year 80,000 homes now have one of the new modern smart meters installed in their home.
Customers will now never have to take a manual meter reading again as the data is automatically transmitted back to British Gas or their subsequent energy provider via mobile phone signals. This data can then be seen either by using the energy provider’s websites or one of the new software packages that are now becoming more commonly available such as google power meter. This data gives an instant and accurate measure of when energy is being used at any point in the day so home users can see for example if they are using a lot of power during the night where in reality most appliances should be switched off. Estimates range anywhere from 10% to 20% on the amount of energy that can be saved simply by knowing what energy is being consumed and is another tool to help home owners reduce their electricity and gas bills.
Low Wholesale Prices not yet fed into Cheaper Tariffs
Throughout the past 12 months wholesale prices have been at low levels and although all the energy companies reduced their gas prices in the early part of the year these have not really fallen low enough. And although all companies are committed to massive investment programmes to reduce CO2 emissions and for the smart meter roll out most analysts agree that some further price cuts are likely to be announced later in the year. All the other big energy companies generally wait to see what British Gas comes up with so are waiting for their lead. It is envisage that some further cuts may be announced in the summer if profits continue for this company.
British Gas actually made a profit of £299m for the first 6 months last year which was a massive 80% increase on the same period in 2008