British Gas loses 110,000 accounts

16 May 2018

British Gas loses 110,000 customer accounts

The UK’s largest energy supplier, British Gas has lost 110,000 energy supply accounts in the first four months of the year, its parent company Centrica discloses. Increased competition has meant customers continue to abandon the bigger energy firms.

The company lost 1.3 million accounts last year. Centrica commented that the intensity level of competition had been high, but the rate at which they were losing customers was slowing.

Currently the company has 13 million energy supply accounts, which are used more frequently when the weather is cooler.

British Gas commented that because of the harsh weather conditions earlier on this year, there was a surge in call-outs for broken boilers and central heating systems. One week they had 145,000 call-outs alone, which is twice their usual.

They stated these extra callouts drove their costs up and will drive down first-half profits at its services unit compared with last year.

Chief executive of Centrica, Ian Conn, said:

“2018 has begun well and overall financial performance in the year to date has been good, despite high competitive intensity in all our markets.

“Our customers continue to see new products and propositions and stable service levels, other than in UK Home Services, which was impacted by extreme weather.”

Mr Conn did however comment that the firm is making good progress on its cost-cutting programme.

Centrica earlier this year said they would cut 4,000 roles in an attempt to increase efficiency, following a 17% drop in annual profits. They confirmed that both their UK home and business units would be affected as a result of these major cost cuts over the next three years as they look to meet a higher cost-cutting target of £1.25bn per year by 2020.

Earlier last month British Gas also announced a price rise, followed by other big energy companies including EDF, Npower and Scottish Power increasing their prices too, for the coming year. These increases have led to a record number of customers switching suppliers.

According to Energy UK, in the first three months of the year there have been 1.3 million customers who have switched, a record quarter.

By Lyba Nasir