British Gas owner's profits increase five-fold to £1.3b as energy bills soar

28 July 2022, 08:45 | Updated: 28 July 2022, 10:03

Energy bills have soared in recent months
Energy bills have soared in recent months. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

British Gas owner Centrica has posted operating profits of £1.34 billion in the six months to the end of June, an increase of five-fold on the same period in 2021.

In 2021 the figure was £262m.

Shell has also made record earnings of $11.5b in three months.

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Meanwhile there are concerns energy bills could increase to almost £4,000 this winter, partly due to Russia strangling the flow of gas to Europe.

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it was one of the many reasons workers are going on strike.

"People are struggling to survive, keep up with their rents, their mortgages, putting food on the table for their children," he said.

"We've got to protect people and that's why people are saying 'well, we're going to have to take industrial action'. "

The average household's energy bill might hit around £500 in January alone, with the cap on bills expected to hit £3,850 between January and April next year - hundreds of pounds more than previous predictions.

Dr Gemma Berwick, a senior consultant at BFY Group, said: "Following further rises in wholesale prices as flows of gas from Russia to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline drop to 20% of capacity, we now forecast the Ofgem price cap to rise to £3,420 in the fourth quarter of 2022 and £3,850 in the first quarter of 2023.

"This will make the average household bill over £500 for January alone."

More than half of the country could be forced into fuel poverty as a result, with power cuts also expected to be on the cards, experts warned.

The UK has been grappling with a worsening cost of living crisis

The worsening forecasts, and fears that the market is still rising, will put further pressure on the Government to support the most vulnerable households.

Ministers were forced to act in May by announcing a major package of support for households.

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However, at the time, the prediction for October's price cap was just £2,800 - more than £600 lower than the latest forecast.

Tory leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have both promised to tackle the crisis if they become the next prime minister.

Liz Truss has promised a wealth of tax cuts, including scrapping green levies,