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British Gas profits almost double to £585m

Record winter temperatures see BG profits rise 98 per cent

Operating profits of British Gas for the first half of 2010 were boosted by record winter temperatures to reach £585m, a rise of 98 per cent, parent company Centrica has announced.

The gas supplier to over half of the UK's households added 223,000 residential customers helped by a price cut in February even as gas use rose by 8 per cent. Its total number of customers now stands at 15.79 million.

Though the residential arm of British Gas saw its profits almost double, its service business saw operating profits fall 3 per cent due to a large number of service calls attended by its engineers who were repairing up to 35,000 boilers daily in the coldest months.

Centrica said the price cuts as well as increased efficiency in gas use meant that average bills for its customers were a bit lower last winter despite the harsh cold weather.

The group has posted overall operating profits of £1.56bn for the first half of this year, a rise of 65 per cent. Its oil and gas production arm's operating profits were up 45 per cent to £485m.