Saturday 24 March 2018

Bord Gáis rules out copying UK price hike

Centrica CEO Iain Conn. Photo: Bloomberg
Centrica CEO Iain Conn. Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Bord Gáis Energy has ruled out any immediate plans to raise or lower electricity or gas prices for its customers in Ireland.

The Irish company's parent, Centrica, said yesterday that its British Gas unit will hike electricity costs for its consumers in the UK by 12.5pc.

Centrica also revealed yesterday that profits at Bord Gáis Energy (BGE) soared 26pc to €39m during the first half of the year and that the business has "continued to perform well".

The group said that the results for its Irish business in the first half of 2017 reflected cost savings and a strong performance from its trading and power generation business.

BGE owns a 445MW power station in Whitegate, Co Cork.

On a group basis, Centrica reported a 7pc rise in revenue to £14.3bn (€16bn) in the first half of 2017, and an 86pc slump in statutory operating profit, to £252m (€282.1m).

Centrica said that BGE had cut the cost per customer home by 14pc on an annualised basis in the first six months of the year by introducing IT and operational process efficiencies.

A spokesman for Bord Gáis Energy said the business had also benefited from growth in the SME segment.

"Our customer account holdings are growing, and SME growth in particular has been improved through our active retention programmes and growth in the range of acquisition channels," he said.

Centrica, whose CEO is Iain Conn, acquired Bord Gáis Energy in 2014 for €1.1bn.

According to the latest figures from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Bord Gáis Energy lost 27,460 retail electricity customers between January and June this year, but gained 36,158.

Between January 2017 and June this year, BGE lost 22,238 retail gas customers, and gained 11,318.

Figures for the first half of 2016 from the CER show BGE had a net gain of 15,660 electricity customers in that period, and a net gain of 420 gas customers.

None of the BGE retail figures include new connections, just switchers. Centrica said it had a total of 694,000 customer accounts in Ireland at the end of June, compared to 685,000 at the end of June 2016.

It added that the energy use per residential customer account in the period fell 10pc compared to the first half of 2016.

Centrica has also been pushing the roll-out of its 'connected home' concept, called Hive. It enables customers to remotely control their heating while not at home, and also connects lighting, sensors and plugs in customer homes.

It will also remind customers to turn on heating before they arrive home, or to turn it off when they've gone out.

Irish Independent

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