‘It’s mind-blowing!’ Vine caller rages at British Gas profits as fuel cost rises to £695

Cost of living: Jeremy Vine caller slams British Gas prices

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British Gas owner Centrica’s half-year profit has soared five-fold to £1.3 billion after being boosted by rocketing energy prices that are battering households. The company also revealed that it would start paying dividends to shareholders for the first time since 2020 – as its oil and gas arm turned a massive profit. Kate from Lanarkshire slammed the profits as her bills are set to reach £695 a month in October to heat just one room.

Speaking to the Jeremy Vine show, Kate said: “I moved into my house six years ago and the fuel was £175 a month.

“It’s now up to £300 a month and they’ve told me in October it will go up to £695 a month.

“We also have a log burner so the fuel is still that high.

“At the moment we only live in one room, we’ve got a small snug at the back of the house.

“We just live in there all the time so we don’t understand.

“I was on the phone for three and a half hours yesterday and I still didn’t get any answers why it’s so high.

“It’s mind blowing to see how much money these people are making.”

The energy giant said its upstream business, which includes its North Sea operations, saw adjusted operating profit reach £906 million in the first six months of the year – an increase of more than 1,100 percent.

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And the business has brought back its dividend to investors, paying 1p per share, which will give the average Centrica shareholder around £100.

Asked if he should use some of this cash to help customers who are facing bills of more than £3,800 from January, chief executive Chris O’Shea said that by running British Gas prudently he is saving customers more money.

Without buying its energy in advance, Centrica would have seen a hit of around £4.4 billion, he added.

“I know it’s difficult to see the word profits, or dividends, or similar words when people are having a tough time. I’m very conscious of this,” Mr O’Shea said.

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“Bear in mind, over the next couple of years we are expecting to pay a windfall tax of probably well over £600 million on our UK gas business off the back of the profits that we’re seeing, so a lot of this is going back into society.”

The profit hike comes from the company’s nuclear and oil and gas business, not British Gas.

The supply business performed much worse – its profits hit just £98 million, down 43 percent compared with the same period a year ago, before the energy crisis had properly bitten.

More than 200,000 customers joined British Gas as some of its rivals went out of business over the period.

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