Bill freeze has chilling effect on British Gas
THE owner of British Gas faces a hit to profits after bowing to political pressure to keep bills down in the face of climbing costs.
Centrica is expected to reveal that earnings from its residential supply arm fell by a quarter in the first half of this year, to £487m, after it kept to its promise not to raise prices before August. The supplier was also hit by mild weather and falling customer numbers. Meanwhile, losses are expected to have deepened in the newer business areas set up to develop small-scale electricity and “smart” home energy devices.
The Government’s backing for battery technologies and electric vehicles last week could bring a boom for the burgeoning market but not all are convinced that the Big Six energy suppliers will be able to tap into it.
Stephen Hunt, a Barclays analyst, warned that energy incumbents may be reduced to the role of “challenger brands” when faced with competition from established tech giants such as Apple and Google.