E.On Boss: Energy Firm Profits Are 'Fair'
The boss of one of the 'big six' energy providers has told Sky News his company made a "fair profit" in 2012.
Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On UK, was speaking after the company posted a 17% fall in annual profits to £235m.
Energy firms have been at pains to argue that they are not over-charging customers since inflation-busting bill increases were first announced ahead of winter.
Each has blamed higher wholesale prices and greater investment commitments for the rises.
E.On was the last of the major providers to hike its prices, having pledged not to raise them in 2012.
The company, which supplies five million homes, has estimated its profit margin on electricity and gas to domestic customers at 2.3% for 2012, or just under £27 on an average weighted dual fuel bill.
Mr Cocker said: "We worked hard to make sure that the choices we made were right for our customers and the efforts we made to freeze our prices and make our customer service better had a real and positive impact.
"As a result of the changes we have made, many of which were difficult and challenging, we were named by consumers and uSwitch as their 'customer satisfaction overall winner' for the first time.
"We still have a long way to go in terms of how we'd like our customers to view us, I'm heartened by the progress we've made by doing things differently."
The Government's Energy Bill aims to automatically ensure customers are on the cheapest possible tariff as the industry faces pressure to simplify its charges and bill structures.
Mr Cocker said E.On had already made big strides in simplifying bills and he refused to say whether it was inevitable that bills would rise in future though he did admit that the industry was making a "large investment in this country".
Last month, the chief executive of the energy regulator Ofgem warned consumers and businesses to prepare for higher prices as power plants close, foreign gas supplies shrink and increasing demand tightens the British energy market.
what do you think?
Saying energy profits are fair is like saying bankers are misunderstood......................
A net profit of 2.3% would not seem excessive to me. The problem, as I have said before, is in the wholesale market where there is simply no competition. The accounts of these traders are the ones to look at if you could ever get hold of them.
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What was wrong with saying that energy suppliers should have their profits capped to make prices fair for consumers?
They are operating as a cartel, thieves.