BRITISH Gas and Shell have been slammed for announcing billions in profits as families face crippling energy bills.
Centrica-owned energy titan British Gas reported a rise in operating profits to an eye-watering £1.34billion for the first six months of this year.
Shell and British Gas announce billions in profits
This is up from £262million a year earlier, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to impact gas prices.
It comes as families were told this week to expect energy bills of £4,000 next year.
More than 200,000 customers joined British Gas in the first half of the year, with the company buying more energy to cope with demand.
This is largely due to the fact that British Gas took on the customers of energy firms which collapsed.
Meanwhile, rival Shell saw profits hit a record $11.5 billion for the last quarter, up from $5.5 billion in April to June 2021.
It comes as energy consultants at BFY said energy bills could reach up to £4,000 next year, with the average household set to fork out £500 for January alone.
Outraged customers took to social media to blast the energy giants for “profiting in a time of crisis”.
One user said: “Utterly disgraceful. These profits are ridiculous and shameful and worse exploitative”.
Another said: “Billions in profits from British Gas. What an effing joke…how is this allowed to happen.”
Meanwhile, one customers questioned how firms can turnover billions when “people will be genuinely struggling to pay heating and electricity bills this winter”.
Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell, said high energy prices have created “boom times” for comaplines that produce oil and gas.
He added: “Energy is a very fickle business, and it was only two years ago that oil prices dipped below $0, and these companies were making eye-watering losses.
“Looking forward there looks to be little respite in sight from climbing energy prices, and this winter is shaping up to be a pretty bleak one financially for millions of UK consumers.”
More than half of the country will be pushed into fuel poverty with more than 10% of households’ salaries sucked up by rising gas bills.
BFY has increased its forecasts for October’s energy price cap to hit £3,420 and for January’s price cap to hit £3,850.
What help can I get with my bills?
If you’re struggling to pay for them or are worried about the upcoming price cap rise, there is support on offer.
Here is a list of some of the support you might be able to get hold of.
Energy Bill Support Scheme
Earlier this year, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of supportive measures for households struggling through the cost of living crisis.
Among them was the Energy Bill Support Scheme, which will see all households with a domestic electricity connection receive a £400 grant from October.
Households don’t need to apply for the scheme – it’s expected that in most cases electricity suppliers will apply the reduction to bills automatically.
Warm Home Discount
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is another option if you’re struggling to pay for your energy bills.
The scheme is a one-off payment of £150 that goes towards heating costs.
It is usually paid directly to your energy supplier, which will then apply the discount to your bills.
If you are someone with a pre-payment meter, you’ll be sent a £150 voucher instead which you can use to top up your account.
The government hasn’t confirmed what date the scheme will be open for applications this year, however in 2021 households could apply from October 18.
Some energy providers offer hardship funds for those who can’t pay their bills.
British Gas is one, and opened its scheme at the start of this month.
There are a number of others that offer tailored support.
To find out if your supplier can offer your help through a hardship fund, it’s best to contact them in the first instance.
Or you can check our our list of suppliers that offer help.