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Tom Blackburn & Steven Smith

How much profit UK energy firms British Gas, EDF, SSE make during cost of living crisis

The cost of energy is at the top of everyone's mind at the moment.

The price cap rose at the start of April by 54%, adding an average of nearly £700 to people's annual bills.

There are fears things will get worse before they get better, with more increases predicted for later this year. The sudden increase in energy bills, which follows months of spiralling wholesale gas prices, has prompted widespread concerns about the potential implications. In particular, there are fears that it will lead to a sharp increase in fuel poverty.

With energy bills shooting higher, there’s also a lot of people asking questions about the profits suppliers are making and whether they can be justified. So who owns our major energy suppliers - and how much profit are they making?

READ MORE: Big Power switch off date announced in protest over rising bills

Who owns British Gas?

British Gas is owned by Centrica, the largest domestic gas supplier in the UK and one of the largest electricity suppliers. It was previously publicly owned, but was privatised by Margaret Thatcher’s government in December 1986.

How much profit does British Gas make?

Centrica, which owns British Gas and other energy companies including Ireland’s Bord Gáis Energy, reported an adjusted operating profit of £948m in 2021. This was an increase of 44% over the previous year.

Who owns EDF?

EDF Energy is owned by the French energy supplier EDF (Électricité de France), which is itself owned by the French government. There has been much discussion of the irony of an energy supplier owned by the French state operating in a privatised UK energy market.

How much profit does EDF make?

According to its own figures, EDF Energy in fact posted a loss of £154m in 2020. Its parent company also posted a profit warning in March, warning that it could be on track to miss its financial targets.

Who owns E.ON?

UK energy supplier E.ON is owned by E.ON SE, an electricity supplier based in Essen, Germany. First formed in 1989, the firm was previously known as Powergen and was originally wholly owned by the UK Government, before being privatised in the 1990s.

E.ON also owns npower, which it acquired in December 2018. The company was previously owned by German multinational energy firm RWE.

How much profit does E.ON make?

In November 2021, E.ON UK’s German parent company reported nine-month adjusted earnings before interest and tax of €3.93bn (£3.29bn). Its customer solutions arm, which is responsible for retail energy services, more than doubled its profits to €910m.

Who owns Scottish Power?

Scottish Power is owned by Spanish utilities firm Iberdrola. The company was originally formed in 1990, in preparation for the privatisation of Scotland’s energy supply the following year.

Have you been struggling with the cost of living? Let us know in the comments below

How much profit does Scottish Power make?

In October 2021, Scottish Power reported a 39% decline in underlying profits at its division responsible for providing energy to domestic customers. It cited rising wholesale costs and low wind volumes as key reasons for the drop in profit.

Who owns SSE?

SSE’s retail business - which provides energy to household customers - is owned by OVO Energy, based in Bristol. SSE sold its retail arm to OVO Energy in January 2020.

How much profit does SSE / OVO make?

OVO Energy, which owns SSE’s retail division, reported that it had significantly reduced its losses in 2020 to £7m - down from £103m the previous year. The company also reported a significant increase in revenues, from £1.5bn to £4.5bn.

Who owns Octopus Energy?

Octopus Energy is owned by Octopus Group, the fund management company which founded the energy firm in 2015. Octopus Group has interests in venture capital, investment management and real estate as well as the energy sector.

How much profit does Octopus Energy make?

In January this year, Octopus Energy reported that it had made an operating loss of nearly £85m in 2021, after reporting a loss of almost £50m in 2020. However, the firm’s energy supply revenues increased to £1.9bn from £1.2bn the previous year.

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