Profits have fallen sharply at Centrica, the owner of British Gas, as energy prices once again hit the headlines.
Centrica's full-year operating profits fell by 35% during 2014, with profits from British Gas' residential energy supplies itself falling by 23% to £439 million.
The business side of British Gas fared little better, with profits for its 'business energy supply and services' division falling 19% from £141 million to £114 million.
The company said warmer weather during 2014 and the recent fall in oil prices were responsible for the fall. As a result, Centrica has cut its dividend payments to shareholders to 13.5p for 2014, compared to 17p per share, which was paid out for 2013.
Centrica said the average actual household energy bill was around £100 lower last year than it had been in 2013, with the average profits made on each dual fuel household falling to £42.
Iain Conn, chief executive of Centrica, said: "2014 was a very difficult year for Centrica and the recent fall in oil and gas prices creates further challenge. We are cutting investment and costs in response. Despite the obvious current challenges, I am confident in the quality of Centrica’s team and the platform which has been established, and I believe the Group is well-placed to take advantage of the longer term trends in the global energy markets. Our priorities remain to serve our customers competitively and with integrity, to develop new offers and services, to provide secure and reliable energy supplies and to deliver long term value for shareholders."
British Gas also reported a two percent fall in the number of residential energy customer accounts during 2014.
In the same week, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has released a report claiming that more than 95% of dual-fuel customers of the 'Big Six' energy firms would have saved money by switching suppliers or tariffs between 2012 and 2014.