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British Gas owner joins record-breaking energy firms with £3.3bn profits

The owner of British Gas, Centrica, has joined several energy companies in making record-breaking profits last year, with a record £3.3bn made in 2022.

This is more than triple the £948m the firm made in 2021, provoking renewed calls for an increased windfall tax, as households across the UK struggle with high energy bills.

Centrica is the latest to join BP, Shell and other oil and gas companies in generating huge profits last year, as Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has caused energy prices to spike.

white and black gas stove

Chief executive Chris O’Shea could also make a bonus of more than £3m off the back of record profits but has refused to confirm whether he will be accepting this or not. Last year he declined a £1.1m bonus due to the ‘hardships faced by our customers.’

He said that Centrica had been providing ‘much needed stability and support’ to cope with the energy crisis, investing £75m into customer support.

However, Centrica has come under scrutiny recently for its forced instalment of pre-payment metres, as data from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition shows.

The campaign group found that nearly two-thirds of households with these metres are home to elderly people, children or those with disabilities or long-term health conditions. It’s also thought that these people pay hundreds more per household than other customers.

The group called out suppliers for failing to provide the government with all the information on how they are supporting customers and how many people had metres forcibly fitted: ‘The energy firms are trying to pull the wool over our eyes yet again and have failed to comply with the Government’s reasonable demand for information and details of compensation they will offer wronged consumers. This is an insult to the victims of the pre-payment meters scandal.’

Fossil gas is a big contributor to the climate crisis, making up around 15% of global energy greenhouse gas emissions in 2021.

Centrica has reported a 78% decrease in total carbon emissions in 2021 compared to 2020, but openDemocracy reported last year that the firm had boosted its environmental credentials by buying ‘carbon credits’.

Photo by Mykola Makhlai

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