Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is expected to smash its earnings record this week and post profits of about £2 billion for 2007, an increase of more than 40 per cent on the previous year, according to consensus estimates by analysts.
The announcement on Thursday is likely to provoke accusations that energy suppliers are exploiting consumers. It will come only a month after British Gas raised prices for 11 million gas and electricity customers by 15 per cent.
Allan Asher, of Energywatch, the consumer group, said that he would examine the Centrica results and those of other British suppliers for evidence of overcharging.
“All of these suppliers are going to post huge profits for 2007,” Mr Asher said. “Our concern is that when wholesale prices go up, they are quick to raise domestic prices, but when they go down, they are very slow to pass the reductions on.”