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British Gas warns of rise in energy bills

Announcement comes in the wake of huge profits increase.

British Gas, major provider of gas and electricity to UK homes, has said energy bills may rise although it "will try to delay" the hike as long as it can.

The warning comes just as the company is being pressurised by consumer groups to cut energy bills, after it reported a 98 per cent rise in profits to £585m over last year.

Following the coldest winter in 30 years, British Gas enjoyed an operating margin of 13 per cent, but said it would make much smaller profits in the second half of the year after it became the first supplier to cut prices in February. Parent company Centrica said that higher bills can be anticipated as wholesale gas and power prices are rising.

UK consumer champion body Consumer Focus warned of public outrage, reasoning that customers have been given only small price cuts for the last two years, despite wholesale prices being half of what they were at their peak.