Nov 13 British Gas owner Centrica Plc is
set to warn of falling margins at its domestic gas and
electricity supply business in the third-quarter trading update
on Thursday, Sky News reported, citing insiders.
Centrica, one of Britain's "big six" energy suppliers, is
expected to say that British Gas' full-year domestic supply
margins are likely to come significantly below 5 percent, hurt
by rising costs outside the company's control, the broadcaster
Five of the six energy companies, including Centrica, have
increased prices blaming rising costs and political
interference. The price increases have ignited accusations that
the companies are abusing their market position at consumers'
The issue of rising energy bills has dominated the political
agenda since September when opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband
promised to freeze energy bills for 20 months if he wins power
in a 2015 election.
Centrica responded to Miliband's pledge by attributing
rising UK energy bills to "three factors - higher commodity
costs where Centrica has to compete to buy gas in a global
market; increases in regulated transportation and distribution
charges; and environmental costs and taxes".
The company increased its household electricity and gas
prices last month by an average of 9.2 percent, more than three
times the rate of inflation, prompting an outcry from consumers
and criticism from lawmakers who last month hauled in energy
company bosses to explain the rises.
Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw said last week he would forego
his annual bonus this year, in a move that could help avoid
Centrica declined to comment to Reuters on the matter.