FTSE 100 power outfit Centrica (LON:CNA) benefited from increased energy demand during the recent cold weather. The weather also had negatives for the firm, however, with call-outs at record levels due to the cold, which will have a knock-on effect in operating costs and profits for the first half of the year. Additionally, poor oil production in Morecambe Bay and off the coast of Norway, as well as the extended outage of a reactor at Hunterston B, have affected production.
The company lost 110,000 consumer energy supply accounts at the end of the first four months, but this represents a slower fall than had been seen in recent periods, including the 823,000 drop between July and October 2017. Business accounts painted a more positive picture, with management saying that both the UK and North American arms should deliver improved operating profits.
Centrica also reiterated concerns about a possible incoming cap on energy pricing, but said that progress was being made on switching consumers to fixed rate products and that no more than 3 million standard rate accounts should exist by the end of the year.