The damage caused by British Gas's widely-publicised decision to hike domestic fuel prices by 9.2 per cent in late 2013 was made apparent this morning, when it reported a six per cent drop in profits for the year.
Mainly as a result of the November increase, more than 360,000 customers – about two per cent of its total - switched to other providers for their gas, while another 100,000 have been lost so far in 2014, the company revealed in its annual accounts.
As a result, the company's profits for the year fell by six per cent, to £571million, while at its household division, operating profit was 18 per cent lower. The company's results also showed that its profit margin on this side of the business was down, to 4.5 per cent.
Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said he was “looking into the various criticisms that have been directed towards the industry” and was conducting an “independent fact-finding review of some of the issues that are most important to our customers”.
But he said his experience of meeting the company's customers had shown that “while there are issues around customer trust and service levels, the reputation of British Gas in the eyes of our customers is vastly better than one would be led to believe from media and political commentary”.