British Gas sheds customers after hiking prices

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British Gas owner Centrica has revealed it lost another 823,000 household energy accounts since June and warned over its earnings outlook as it also took a hit from warmer-than-normal weather.

The Big Six provider saw the customer exodus following its move to increase electricity prices by 12.5% in September, although it said 150,000 of the accounts lost were solely down to market switching trends following the tariff rise.

It now has 13.1 million customer accounts and 7.9 million customers.

The group said cost-cutting would help it hold annual earnings in its British Gas arm "broadly" flat on a year earlier, in spite of the customer account losses and a drop in demand for energy in the recent unseasonally warm autumn weather.

But it warned that its earnings per share would be lower than expected due to the British Gas woes as well as troubles in its North American arm, which is being hit by "highly competitive market conditions and low price volatility".

Iain Conn, Centrica group chief executive, said "Although some aspects of our delivery in the second half of 2017 have been disappointing, I remain encouraged by our progress in implementing our strategy."