British Gas Residential's turnover figures for the second half of 2006 have sparked controversy as consumer groups deplore the fact that the company recouped £95 million in profit in the second half of the year.
The energy supplier recovered from losses of £143 million in the first half of the year thanks to lower wholesale purchase costs and increased customer tariff - fuel bills were hiked by as much as 36 per cent, according to uSwitch.com.
Although British Gas has now attempted to dampen customer discontent by introducing tariff reductions from mid-March, it lost 868,000 million gas and 161,000 electricity customers over the second half of the year, the figures show.
The fact that British Gas still managed to make a profit in spite of the loss of over a million customers is "testament to just how much they were making out of those who stayed loyal", Moneysupermarket's head of utilities Paul Schofield observes.
Nevertheless, the release of the figures was accompanied by a commitment to balance out the interests of shareholders and customers better in future – a welcome sign that the supplier will prioritise customer service in future, uSwitch's consumer policy director Ann Robinson added.To compare gas prices, click here.
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