Here's why: British Gas owner Centrica to cut 1000 roles this year



The embattled owner of British Gas said February's extreme cold weather and a slowdown in customers fleeing for other providers buoyed its financial performance in the year-to-date, but it warned that more political tinkering in the energy market could harm its future prospects.

The company now has 3.7 million customers on SVTs, down from 4.3 million at the end of 2017.

Centrica, which owns the energy firm, said the exodus - amid intense competition - had slowed compared to levels seen a year ago.

The company said: "Colder than normal weather has increased energy demand and the significant commodity price volatility we have experienced has been managed well by our energy supply businesses".

Centrica, which has been refocusing on core customer-facing energy and services business, said that net consumer customer account losses slowed materially despite strong competition.

The full year dividend is expected to be 12.0p per share and British Gas said like-for-like staff numbers are expected to reduce by around 1,000 during the year.

The UK's biggest energy supplier had its busiest ever week for boiler repairs during the cold weather in February and March, leading to callout costs that will drive its services unit's first-half profits down compared with past year.

Morgan Stanley said the proposed tariff cap is the biggest near term risk for Centrica and the brokerage expects legislation to be passed by parliament in the coming months.

"We are making good progress against our cost efficiency targets", Conn added.

Shares in Centrica were 1.0% higher at 148.67 pence on Monday.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "It's been a case of one step forward, one step back at Centrica so far this year".

"However, some of the extra volumes were offset by customer unrest following a higher number of boiler breakdowns".

British Gas supplies 7.8 million households in the United Kingdom, as well as providing energy to businesses and offering home services such as boiler fix. It also lost 28,000 in North America in the same period.