The news of Centrica’s profit had caused anger from politicians and campaigners stating that companies are receiving advantages from the sky-high energy prices that force people to reduce the consumption of energy even during harsh climatic conditions
Centrica, the British Gas Company announced its adjusted operating profit on Thursday with the amount tripled hitting a record £3.3 billion for the year 2022, while the profit for the year 2021 was $ 948 million. Centrica announced that it would extend the £ 250 million share buyback program that the firm launched in November by an additional £300 million this year.
North Sea gas production, energy trading divisions, and Nuclear Power are some of the areas that brought in profits for the company. The Nuclear division had huge profits compared to the year 2022. The section made a profit of £724m, equated with a loss of £38m a year earlier, mostly because of an increase in prices due to the energy crisis. The North Sea drilling section on the other hand made a profit of £245 million when its previous year’s profits were just £68 million.
These areas have also received advantages from the instabilities that the wholesale markets saw last year due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive stated that the company has invested £75 million in its energy customers during 2022 and it was greater than the £8 post-tax profit per customer earned by British Gas Energy. “Whilst customers may see some relief given the recent easing of prices, it remains clear that some will continue to need help and we will do what we can to support them in the year ahead,” stated Chris O’Shea.
Not so-happy responses!
The news of Centrica’s profit had caused anger from politicians and campaigners stating that companies are receiving advantages from the sky-high energy prices that force people to reduce the consumption of energy even during harsh climatic conditions. Some activists have mentioned that the profits were accumulated on the sufferings of low-income as well as differently-abled people’s inability to pay the bills.
Chris O’Shea mentioned that he would use the profits to help the customers and the environment along with announcing a contribution to shareholders. “Profits at Centrica have a purpose, and that purpose is net zero, that purpose is helping customers have lower bills going forward,” stated Chris O’Shea. The operating profit of the British Gas retail division that serves more than 7 million households plunged by nearly 30 percent reaching £72 million.
Mr. O’Shea also stated that it was crucial to assist people in affording food, energy, and other basic bills following the exposure. The underlying earnings for the company increased to £2.8 billion from the previous year’s £390 million. The firm got £1.4 billion in profits from its trading arm, which is a whopping 1900 percent increase from the previous year.
The massive profits have, however, bolstered calls for heavier windfall taxes. Chris O’Shea mentioned that government and regulators must have a wider debate to tackle the cost of living crisis in Britain as the energy bills have gone beyond the abilities of the households to pay. The firm also has to pay an amount of £1 billion in the form of taxes for 2022 which is again high than the £430 million it had to pay in the year 2021 as the UK introduced windfall taxes on gas and oil producers. Centrica values it will pay nearly £2.5bn in UK windfall taxes up until 2028.