British Gas price hike forces customers to switch suppliers

Around 200,000 UK homeowners have left British Gas this year following the company’s decision to raise household energy bills in the summer.
The energy giant has admitted losing a vast number of customers and warned that its profits for the year will be hit.
Parent firm Centrica said total earnings for 2011 will be marginally lower than expected, but insisted the huge loss of customers was not a factor. Instead, it said the “unusually warm weather experienced in the UK in recent months” was to blame.
The British Gas residential business had been tipped to record profits of £600m after making £272m in its first six months. However, the company reported losses in the period between April and August 2011.
In response to higher wholesale energy costs, British Gas and the other major UK energy suppliers hiked up their prices in the summer, sparking protests from consumer groups. Prices at British Gas went up by an average of 18 per cent for gas and 16 per cent for electricity .
Despite wholesale gas costs currently 26 per cent higher than last winter, Centrica has stressed that there won’t be any further bill increases this year.