British Gas owner sees profits more than treble last year
British Gas owner Centrica has seen its profits soar to more than £3 billion for 2022 amid rocketing energy prices that have sparked a cost-of-living crisis.
The energy giant reported underlying operating profits of £3.3 billion against profits of £948 million in 2021.
Stripping out its Spirit Energy businesses that were sold, underlying earnings for the group jumped to £2.8 billion from £392 million the previous year.
The earnings haul for last year have stoked anger over a run of massive profits notched up in the sector and reinforced calls for greater windfall taxes.
Its figures also come amid a furore over Centrica’s use of debt collectors to install expensive pre-payment meters by force in the homes of vulnerable cash-strapped customers.
The scandal sparked an urgent inquiry by regulator Ofgem and has seen Centrica banned from force-fitting pre-payment meters.
Trade union Unite hit out at “rampaging energy profiteering” and Centrica’s treatment of customers.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “British Gas owner Centrica has been coining it in from our massive energy bills while sending bailiffs to prey on vulnerable consumers the length and breadth of the country.
“These energy companies are showing us everything that is wrong with the UK’s broken economy.
“Rishi Sunak should get a grip – pull the plug on rampaging energy profiteering, impose a meaningful, tough windfall tax and give the NHS a pay rise with the proceeds.”
Centrica said it paid nearly £1 billion in tax relating to 2022 profits.
But it also revealed it handed out bumper returns to shareholders, with plans to boost its share buyback programme by another £300 million and paying out a full-year dividend of 3p a share.
Shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband hit out at the Government as he promised that Labour would introduce a “proper” windfall tax on energy companies.
“It cannot be right that, as oil and gas giants rake in the windfalls of war, Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives refuse to implement a proper windfall tax that would make them pay their fair share,” Mr Miliband tweeted.
“Labour would use a real windfall tax to stop the energy price cap going up in April.”
In the figures, Centrica said it was “extremely disappointed” by the pre-payment meter allegations over the tactics used by the debt collectors it employed.
“We immediately took action to address this and are completing a thorough independent investigation,” it added.
Centrica’s results showed it made operating profits of £72 million at its British Gas retail division, British Gas Energy, but this was down 39% on the year before.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
Energy companies make billions of pounds in profit on the back of huge price hikes whilst consumers struggle and worry yet the government choose to do absolutely nowt to help. Why? Because MPs have financial interests in these companies and are also raking in cash.
How much more of this are YOU going to put up with?
Me?…well, lets just say, I’m more than ready for a change and I am very willing…see yo at the docks at six?
A breakdown of Centrica’s asset management company Schroder’s international shareholders would be interesting. Maybe you! through your pension! For whose benefit is it, taking the people of these Islands to the cleaners, asset stripping them to the bone, breaking into their homes and making their lives a misery with the full support of Sunak and Co. Wealth distribution from poor to rich our speciality, as advertised on TV… Rishi ‘that is what I am here to do’, the perfect man and his sidekick Hunt for the job… If this was on the high street with people entering shops to help… Read more »
You touch on one of the commonly used smokescreens of our time that profits from the big corporations pay divis to small shareholders and make our pension schemes viable. That is true but so much of the loot plundered from the paying public goes into the coffers of the international money institutions which have huge share stakes in each other ! So much, maybe most, of the ill gotten loot stays with them to be distributed in handsome packages to executives – the chosen elite of greedy high financiers – and even our pension schemes and other small timer investment… Read more »
Tax them hard 60% or more.