LONDON, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Britain's energy giant British Gas announced Thursday that its profits for the first half of this year fell sharply as the warm weather led to reduced energy consumption.
The operating profits of residential energy supply decreased 26 percent to 265 million pounds (448 million U.S. dollars) in the first half of this year, British Gas owner Centrica said.
In terms of the mild weather and energy efficiency measures, the average actual British Gas customer bill was expected to be around 90 pounds (or 7 percent) lower in 2014 than 2013, said Centrica.
At the meantime, the average bill for vulnerable customers was on average 20 percent lower this winter than last, due to the warm home discount and additional British Gas discounts.
The parent company Centrica today also reported a 35 percent drop in its half-year profits to 1.03 billion pounds, compared with 1.58 billion pounds it the same period of last year.
"The first half of the year has seen challenging market conditions across the group, both as a result of the weather and reflecting the wider political environment," Centrica chairman Rick Haythornwaite said in a statement.
The company was hit by 65 million pounds of costs relating to the polar vortex cold snap that hit North America earlier this year. It also posted write-offs of 40 million pounds relating to the cancelled Celtic Array wind farm project.
However, the group believes it can return to growth in 2015.
"The investments we have made mean that the business is balanced and more resilient, both upstream and downstream," said Sam Laidlaw, group chief executive.
"We have continued our efforts to engage with our stakeholders, particularly our customers, working to restore their trust. And we are taking the steps to position the business for growth in 2015 and beyond," said Haythornwaite. (1 pound = 1.69 U.S. dollars)