unit British Gas has announced it will donate 10% of its profits to help U.K. customers pay their gas bills, a sign of the pressure on both the government and businesses to address spiraling costs.
The total relief amounts to £12 million ($14 million) — so just a fraction of what will be needed to cover soaring costs.
Centrica has said the initial donation will immediately be put into an existing support fund and will be available to customers from mid-September. It will add to British Gas’s annual £6 million injection into the British Gas Energy Trust.
The firm, which has reported a £96 million pretax profit for the half year ending in June, said U.K households will receive packages between £250 and £750.
The fund is eligible to mainly British Gas customers with fuel debt of £250 to £1,500, and is open to a minority of customers from other energy suppliers.
The exponential rise of electric and gas bills has sparked national outrage in recent months, and has even caused people to set up campaigns to boycott paying the bills come October.
“The current cost of living crisis requires all of us to think differently. As a responsible business we want to do more to support our customers during this difficult time,” said Chris O’Shea, CEO of Centrica.
“Committing ten percent of our profits for the duration of the energy crisis will mean we can target help at those who need it the most. This increased investment in supporting our customers adds to the financial support and advice we already offer and ensures more grants will be available as we go into this winter,” he added.
The grants won’t go far to cover the full cost of alleviating the soaring energy bills for U.K households. Executives of Iberdrola
subsidiary ScottishPower recently said to the BBC that the actual cost is closer to £100 billion ($118 billion).
Its CEO, Keith Anderson, proposed a £100 billion plan to freeze the current £1,971 price cap for at least two years as the price of wholesale gas continues to rise.
The news comes in advance of the U.K energy regulator’s expected announcement of the October price cap on Friday.