British Gas to freeze prices for rest of the year

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British Gas owner Centrica expects to freeze its energy prices for the rest of the year, despite a fall in profits.

In good news for hard-pressed consumers, the company said competition in the energy market would mean its current prices would remain for the rest of 2014, even though it expects its profits to fall by a quarter to £425 million.

The energy giant, which has lost 180,000 residential accounts since the start of the year, said a milder winter meant the average gas bill was 10% lower than the winter before, with the average consumption of gas and electricity down 25% and 10% respectively.

Centrica's chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, said: “The combination of mild weather, and our expectation that we will not change energy prices this year, means the average British Gas household energy bill is expected to be lower in 2014 than in 2013.”

Last Autumn, British Gas was heavily criticised by consumers and politicians alike for raising its prices by 9.2%, while customers of the other 'Big Six' energy companies also faced similar hikes.

In a bid to establish what is happening in the sector, the Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the UK's energy market to whether the companies' dominance is leading to anti-competiveness.

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In March, the UK's second-largest energy supplier SSE, said it would be freezing its gas and electricity prices until 2016.