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British Gas installing up 24 per cent

The number of central heating installations undertaken by British Gas has increased by 24 per cent to 113,000 over the past year with the average revenue per installation totalling £3,018.

Price comparison website uSwitch.com highlighted the issue after British Gas Services reported revenue up 32 per cent to £348m and profits up 48 per cent to £151m.

It said customers should select installers carefully. Tim Woolfenden, head of home services, said: 'As an investment you need to get the right product. Our advice would always be not to just get one quote and go for it.'

British Gas said: “Our central heating installation quotes are tailored individually to customers needs and come with the peace-of-mind that comes from a year’s homecare cover included.”
Overall operating profits for the British Gas Services division were up £49m from £102million in 2006.

This was helped by a 7 per cent leap in customers using its home care products. A total of 7.6m customers now have contracts covering central heating servicing, kitchen appliances, plumbing and drains care and home electrics.

Its on-demand repair services for non-contract customers also rose 19 per cent to 414,000 and the number of engineering staff it employs increased to 9,209 from 8,676 – a rise of 6 per cent.

Its results statement said operating profit had risen dramatically “due to strong growth in higher margin care products outside the core central heating range combined with the continued focus on cost control and overhead savings.'

Mr Woolfenden emphasised: 'British Gas makes a lot of money out of these deals, but home care cover is a very competitive market and it is down to customers to shop around.

“British Gas is amongst the more expensive providers, but there service is comprehensive and coverage is very good. However, people often do not realise they could move to someone else who might be cheaper.”

British Gas’ results statement said improved customer service, better engineer deployment and system stability offered opportunities for “continued growth” in this area.