Centrica plc – which owns Scottish and British Gas brands – has lost 220,000 energy customers, and shed 800 jobs in the first three months of this year.
The ongoing haemorrhage in domestic energy customers continues to affect Centrica and its other ‘Big Six’ suppliers as consumers increasingly switch to smaller, independent – and often cheaper – suppliers.
However, with 14.4 million customers, British Gas remains the largest domestic supplier in the UK.
Centrica said that customers coming to the end of their fixed deals and then moving on to other suppliers was the main reason for its loss of customers early in the year.
As well as the 800 jobs cut so far, Centrica warned that further redundancies will follow throughout the year as it moves to reduce staff numbers by a total of 3,000 jobs and to cut costs by £200 million this year.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, commented: “Centrica’s main operating business, British Gas, is going through considerable management upheaval while trying to implement major cost and headcount reductions which is putting the whole business under real strain and it is creaking.
“Staff are confused and disillusioned, managers don’t know if they’re staying or going and the only word from the top is cut, cut, cut. Announcing even more job losses will be a bitter blow and GMB will be consulting with shop stewards and reps to discuss what steps to take.”
The group confirmed that capital investment would be ‘no more than’ £1 billion this year, around half of which would be in oil and gas exploration.
Centrica also said that it had have now installed 2.25 million residential smart meters in the UK and remains on track to have installed more than 3 million by the end of 2016.