Shareholders in British Gas are to be awarded a bonus payout by its parent company, Centrica – just as its customers face major price rises.
Energy customers, already facing a raft of price rises, are likely see red at the news that British Gas owner Centrica is pressing ahead with a 12% increase in the dividends it will pay to shareholders.
Centrica recently announced profits of £1.3 billion for the last six months – a figure which includes £270 million in profit for British Gas.
The announcement comes just weeks before an average price rise of 18% for gas and 16% for electricity is due to come into effect – adding £190 to the average annual bill and taking its total to £1,286.
Centrica has increased its dividends by around 7% per year for the last five years, while average energy bills increased almost 30%.
The latest rise in prices has been defended by Centrica, which said that it was essential in order for the company to make a profit in the second half of this year.
But British Gas isn’t the only energy provider to put up its prices. Price rises have also been announced by Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy – each of which has cited rising wholesale costs as the reason for the rise.
Moneyhighstreet comments: “Energy suppliers which haven’t yet put up their prices will enjoy a small advantage over those who have – but this isn’t likely to last.
“With all of the Big Six expected to put up their bills, customers should also look to smaller energy providers when comparing prices, but also consider new ways of reducing their bills.
“The new Home Energy Plan recently announced by British Gas subsidises green energy equipment for your home to help you save on the amount of energy you use and even help you generate some of your own – if prices continue rising, this could become your best option to lower your bills.”