British Gas loses 200,000 customers since August
British Gas has witnessed an exodus of customers since it increased its utility prices earlier this year.
New figures have revealed that more than 200,000 people chose to switch to different suppliers since August 2011, with most likely to have been caused by an 18 per cent and 16 per cent hike in gas and electricity prices respectively.
The company now supplies power to in the region of 15.9 million people and it is expected that its profits will decrease by 26 per cent for the year as a whole due to the fall in patronage.
British Gas blamed the challenging economic conditions and warmer weather in autumn for its losses, while new custom may also have been depleted by the abolition of doorstep sales as a result of pressure from consumer groups.
Earlier this week, owner of British Gas Centrica issued a profit warning as a result of people switching on their heating later than usual due to mild weather.
However, its profits are still set to increase from £2.4 billion to more than £2.5 billion.
It also defended its decision to hike prices for British Gas customers.
"Higher wholesale prices, together with higher non-commodity costs, meant that the British Gas residential business had become loss-making since April."
"We protected customers from the effect of higher costs for as long as possible, before reluctantly taking the decision to increase our domestic gas and electricity tariffs," a statement said.