May 8, 2017

British Gas loses customers as competition bites

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has reported a further drop in UK domestic customers since the start of the year, while unusually warm weather has also led to lower than expected energy consumption. Centrica hit out at the proposed price cap in a trading update on Monday, warning that evidence from other countries, which already have a similar policy, suggested it would "Lead to reduced competition and choice, and potentially higher average prices". Prices are likely to cluster around the cap, the energy group believes, reducing choice and raising prices for customers. Which is the only big six supplier that has not so far raised prices this year, expressed its confidence in being able to ride out a further regulatory clampdown on the market, given its "Focus on competitive pricing, cost efficiency, improved service levels, rewarding loyalty and delivering propositions which customers want". Unseasonably warm weather in both the UK and US over the winter months has resulted in lower-than-expected energy consumption so far this year, Centrica also cautioned, while it highlighted that wholesale oil, gas and power prices have fallen since it last updated the market in February.

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