Big six UK energy firms see supply profit margins grow

Electricity pylons
Image caption Energy prices are currently a hot topic in the UK

Regulator Ofgem says the big six energy suppliers saw profit margins in the supply of gas and electricity rise to 4.3% in 2012, up from 2.8% in 2011.

And the watchdog says supplier profit per household customer rose to £53 last year, from £30 a year earlier.

However, the power generation profit margins at the firms fell from 24% in 2011 to 20% in 2012.

Overall, profits in generation and supply across the half-dozen firms fell from £3.9bn in 2011 to £3.7bn in 2012.

The information comes from an analysis by Ofgem of the annual financial statements of the firms Centrica (which owns British Gas), EDF. E.On, Npower. Scottish Power and SSE.

It refers to the 2012 financial year, so does not include more recent financial results published in 2013 or the impact of the recent round of price rises.

The report showed that Centrica had the highest profit margin in 2012 at 6.6% for supplying electricity and gas to households and industry.

EDF Energy had the lowest margin. In fact, it made a loss of 1.4% last year.

The average household energy bill rose by £168, with some £75 being attributed to wholesale price rises and £60 to a rise in the cost of paying for network usage and government policies.

A series of energy price hikes by the major suppliers has sparked consumer anger and put the issue at the centre of current UK political debate.

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