Public perceptions of Centrica crash following profit announcements
August 26th, 2022, Stephan Shakespeare

Public perceptions of Centrica crash following profit announcements

A good few weeks for Centrica’s shareholders has been a bad few weeks for the energy company’s brand. On 28 July, the British Gas owner announced that half-year profits for the six months ending in June had risen to £1.34bn – an increase from £262m 12 months earlier.

Centrica has also announced that it would be resuming dividend payments for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.. Against the backdrop of soaring gas and electricity bills, Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady has described the payout to shareholders as an “insult to millions”, while Liz Truss has said that energy companies posting huge profits should not be seen as “dirty or evil”.

Data from YouGov BrandIndex UK shows that Centrica has taken a hit to its overall public perception after posting these bumper profits. Between 27 July and 13 August, Buzz scores, which measure whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about a brand recently, for Centrica fell from -1.9 to -7.6 (-6.3) – reaching a low of -11.0 (4 August). The energy company’s Impression scores, which measure whether the public have overall positive or negative sentiment towards a brand, saw a five-point drop from -4.3 to -9.3 over the same period.


As Centrica’s profits soared, perceptions of its value for money tumbled: scores for this metric worsened from -5.7 to -12.3 (-6.6). The same applies to its Recommend scores, which declined from -2.3 to -7.1 (-4.8). The company’s general brand health, as measured by Index scores, saw a comparable deterioration from -2.2. to -6.8 (-4.6).

Whatever the morality, we can say that – at a time when energy bills are soon predicted to exceed £4,000 per year – Centrica’s large profits have not helped its popularity among the public. The cost of living crisis has also hit the company’s subsidiaries: British Gas’ Index scores plummeted from 17.9 to 1.9 among its customers between January and August 2022.