In Brief

British Gas owner to axe 1,500 jobs

Centrica aims to save £250m after losing 261,000 domestic customers so far this year

Around 1,500 jobs are to be axed at British Gas owner Centrica as part of its aim to cut around £250m in costs this year.

Despite bucking the trend among the "big six" providers by not raising standard energy prices so far in 2017, the company revealed today that it has lost 261,000 domestic energy customers since the beginning of the year, which will have an impact on jobs.

The reported fall in residential accounts to 14.2 million since January was due in part to fixed-term contracts ending, says the BBC.

British Gas claims the smallest disparity between fixed-term deals and standard variable tariff costs, which it has frozen until August.

In contrast, SSE, E.on, Scottish Power and NPower have all increased prices, while in April, EDF raised its electricity tariffs for the second time in four months.

Following years of pressure for more stringent government action, the Tories have proposed to cap energy prices in the next parliament.

However, Centrica used its trading update today to warn strongly against the move. "Evidence from other countries would suggest this will lead to reduced competition and choice, and potentially higher average prices," it said.

The Independent quotes Centrica boss Iain Conn as saying the average margin after tax is just £52 per customer.

The paper added that he warned "the company would 'absolutely be losing money' if the proposed cap comes into effect and would have to 'address' its costs and 'look at service'".

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