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British Gas chairman “scaremongering” over energy prices


The Chairman of Centrica, the company that owns British Gas is “scaremongering” over plans to introduce a price freeze on the cost of energy according to Caroline Flint, shadow energy secretary.

The chairman of Centrica, Rick Haythornewaite, warned last week that a proposed 20-month price freeze would cause uncertainty and further hamper investment. He further argued that the political debate over energy prices was “immensely damaging not just for Centrica but for the nation," and that a price freeze could even raise “the possibility of the lights going out in Britain.”

Last week, British Gas reported a drop in operating profits for their residential business of 6% due to warmer weather, higher wholesale costs and investment into the gas value chain. As a result, profits for the calendar year were recorded at £571 million, down from £606 million the year earlier.

However, shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint said a price freeze “would not contribute to the lights going out.” Ms Flint went on to say “Do they like the price freeze? No, of course they don't. This is about making sure we can give something back and where the price freeze can settle the market.”

There has been much debate over the issue of energy prices in recent months after all of the “big six” energy firms raised their prices. This has led to Labour leader, Ed Milliband vowing to freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months if he is elected to power in 2015.

Furthermore, Energy Secretary, Ed Davy has called on the competition authorities to investigate the profit margins of major suppliers, including British Gas, whilst even suggesting that those found to have a monopoly over the market should be broken up into smaller companies.

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