British Gas Slashes Bills by Pounds 55 after Cold Snap Profits

Article excerpt

BRITISH GAS slashed energy bills for millions of households today as it revealed it made bumper profits from the cold snap in December and January.

The energy giant, which supplies eight million customers, cut seven per cent from its gas tariff, although it left electricity prices unchanged. The move will lower the average bill by around Pounds 55 a year from Pounds 1,202 to Pounds 1,147.

It is the third time in a year British Gas has reduced prices and it is now the cheapest gas supplier in the country for the first time since the market was opened up to competition.

The cut, which is likely to be followed by several if not all of its rival "big six" energy groups, comes a day after a gloomy report from industry regulator Ofgem warned prices could rocket by more than Pounds 500 in the next six years.

British Gas, the country's biggest supplier, said it was able to make the cut because of weaker wholesale prices and the prolonged cold spell, which has meant far more gas being burned than it had forecast.

"It's been cold and we got more profit in from January and December than we expected," said managing director Phil Bentley. …