BBC News

Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw defends profits rise

The energy group, Centrica, has announced an increase in profits in the residential arm of British Gas. They rose 11% last year to £606m. In November British Gas increased customer bills by 6%.

The chief executive of Centrica, Sam Laidlaw, said it was important the company remained profitable.

He explained that Centrica "provides a vital source of energy to the UK", and emphasised that the company "supports the employment of 175,000 people and invests some £2.7bn pounds a year".

"We can only continue to do that if we are a profitable business," he said.

Mr Laidlaw, went on to say that British Gas was targeting help to those who most needed it: "Last year we actually provided to 400,000 homes a £130 warm homes discount. We also provided to another 700,000 thousand homes free insulation."

He indicated that the company are trying to "target the help to where it's most needed".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 27 February 2013.