Energy profits hit £420bn in recent years as standing charges rise

Energy giants have pocketed over £420 billion in profits since the energy crisis started according to a new analysis of company reports. [1]

Researchers examined the declared profits of firms ranging from energy producers (such as Equinor and Shell) through to the firms that control our energy grid (such as National Grid, UK Power Networks and Cadent) as well as suppliers (such as British Gas).

Around £30 billion of these profits (the equivalent of over £1,000 per household) are thought to be made by the firms and business units responsible for electricity and gas transmission and distribution.

These are the “network costs” consumers pay for maintaining the pipes and wires of the energy system and are usually paid for through standing charges on energy bills.

Electricity standing charges have surged in recent years and from 1 April will be 147% higher than in 2021 – powered by fees such as the 14 hidden charges on every bill for network costs.

Gas standing charges have increased by 15% since 2021, but a recent report for the Warm This Winter campaign found that the network costs for gas are charged differently, through both gas unit costs and standing charges.

Researchers found that the estimated price each household contributes on gas network costs has risen from £118.53 a year in 2021 to £163.69 a year from 1 April 2024 (a 38% increase).

From 1 April the costs that households pay for every unit of energy they use will decrease slightly – but are still almost double what they were in 2021. But standing charges will rise. Compared to the previous quarter, electricity standing charges go up 13% and gas standing charges increase 6%.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“The energy firms are taking us for April fools.

“As standing charges go up today, households will have to cut back on their energy use just to keep their bills the same. This means households continue to suffer as a few energy firms make billions in profits.

“These numbers may look like fantastic amounts to shareholders, but the reality is that these profits have caused pain and suffering among people living in fuel poverty for the last few years.”

Warm This Winter spokesperson Fiona Waters said:

“The public are beyond frustrated at being a cash machine for companies who use our broken energy system to cream as much profits as they can out of them, while hard working people are up to their eyeballs in energy debt and fat cat bosses splurge their excessive wealth on luxuries.

“This data should put to bed any final opposition to a proper Windfall Tax on energy firms which ministers must use to help people who are still paying 60 percent more than they were on their energy bills three years ago.

“We need to stop pandering to these profiteers and focus on expanding homegrown renewable energy and a mass programme of insulation to bring down energy bills for good.”


[1] The data was compiled from publicly available accounts and financial statements, using the best available measure of company profits by a freelance city journalist. These measures differ from company to company due to reporting processes and regulatory requirements in different jurisdictions. In determining which measure of profitability to use, the research has prioritised the measure preferred in the company’s own accounts.


COMPANY (profit type) Financial Year (FY) ending in 2020 FY ending in 2021 FY ending in 2022 FY ending in 2023 FY ending in 2024 [interims where available] TOTAL SINCE ENERGY BILLS CRISIS
SSE (Group – Pretax profit adjusted) £1,023,400,000 £1,064,900,000 £1,164,000,000 £2,183,600,000 £565,200,000 £6,001,100,000
Cadent (Group – Operating profit) £924,000,000 £901,000,000 £685,000,000 £945,000,000.00 £2,510,000,000
Electricity North West (Pre tax profit) £87,000,000 £145,600,000 £64,800,000 £26,000,000 £195,000,000 £518,400,000
Northern Powergrid (Net income / earnings) £158,790,000 £195,130,000 £304,150,000 £136,670,000 £794,740,000
National Gas Transmission (Operating profit) £475,000,000 £484,000,000 £512,000,000 £619,000,000 £2,090,000,000
UK Power Networks (EBITDA) £1,270,200,000 £1,294,300,000 £1,328,900,000 £1,410,400,000 £5,303,800,000
Northern Gas Networks (Group Operating Profit) £213,246,000.00 £157,642,000.00 £151,142,000 £210,687,000 £361,829,000
SGN (Operating profits) £600,600,000 £526,500,000 £364,300,000 £439,500,000 £1,930,900,000
Ovo Energy (Operating profits) -£238,000,000 £367,000,000 -£1,582,000,000 -£1,453,000,000
Octopus Energy (Operating profits) -£47,910,000 -£117,400,000 -£188,400,000 £243,300,000 -£110,410,000
Shell (Profit/Adjusted Earnings) £3,828,340,000 £15,238,310,000 £31,497,300,000 £22,317,500,000 £11,628,800,000 £84,510,250,000
BP (Underlying Replacement Cost Profit (URCP)) -£4,495,100,000 £10,123,850,000 £21,845,870,000 £10,930,440,000 £38,405,060,000
Equinor (Adjusted Earnings) £3,111,020,000 £26,453,940,000 £59,202,600,000 £28,613,800,000 £117,381,360,000
Centrica (Adjusted Operating Profit) £447,000,000 £948,000,000 £3,308,000,000 £2,752,000,000 £7,455,000,000
National Grid (Statutory Pre-Tax Profit) £1,754,000,000 £2,083,000,000 £3,441,000,000 £3,590,000,000 £1,371,000,000 £10,156,000,000
EDF (EBITDA) £13,909,640,000 £15,484,300,000 -£4,287,960,000 £34,314,000,000 £13,851,160,000 £73,271,140,000
EON (EBITDA) £5,938,300,000 £6,784,540,000 £6,930,740,000 £8,058,200,000 £27,711,780,000
Iberdrola (EBITDA) £8,608,772,000 £10,324,902,000 £11,376,166,000 £12,398,620,000 £42,708,460,000
Drax (Group – pre tax profit) -£235,000,000 £122,000,000 £78,000,000 £796,000,000 £761,000,000
Wales & West (pre tax profit) -£24,400,000 £25,900,000 -£176,900,000 £263,100,000 £87,700,000
TOTAL PROFIT £420,395,109,000.00


COMPANY Type FY ending in 2020 FY ending in 2021 FY ending in 2022 FY ending in 2023 FY ending in 2024 [interims where available] TOTAL SINCE ENERGY BILLS CRISIS
SSE E Transmission £218,100,000.00 £220,900,000.00 £380,500,000.00 £372,700,000.00 £215,600,000.00 £1,407,800,000.00
SSE E Distribution £356,300,000.00 £267,300,000.00 £351,800,000.00 £382,400,000.00 £120,100,000.00 £1,477,900,000.00
Cadent G Transmission & Distribution £924,000,000.00 £901,000,000.00 £685,000,000.00 £945,000,000.00 £2,510,000,000.00
Electricity North West E Distribution £87,000,000.00 £145,600,000.00 £64,800,000.00 £26,000,000.00 £195,000,000.00 £518,400,000.00
Northern Powergrid E Distribution £158,790,000.00 £195,130,000.00 £304,150,000.00 £136,670,000.00 £794,740,000.00
National Gas G Transmission & Distribution £475,000,000.00 £484,000,000.00 £512,000,000.00 £619,000,000.00 £2,090,000,000.00
UK Power Networks E Distribution £1,270,200,000.00 £1,294,300,000.00 £1,328,900,000.00 £1,410,400,000.00 £5,303,800,000.00
Northern Gas Networks G Transmission & Distribution £213,246,000.00 £157,642,000.00 £151,142,000.00 £210,687,000.00 £361,829,000.00
SGN G Transmission & Distribution £543,000,000.00 £509,000,000.00 £339,000,000.00 £452,000,000.00 £256,000,000.00 £2,099,000,000.00
National Grid E Transmission £1,316,000,000.00 £1,027,000,000.00 £1,055,000,000.00 £993,000,000.00 £838,000,000.00 £5,229,000,000.00
National Grid G Transmission & Distribution £347,000,000.00 £337,000,000.00 £637,000,000.00 £715,000,000.00 £2,036,000,000.00
National Grid E Distribution £909,000,000.00 £1,069,000,000.00 £472,000,000.00 £2,450,000,000.00
National Grid E Systems £443,000,000.00 £443,000,000.00
SP Energy Networks E Distribution £860,000,000.00 £905,408,000.00 £940,238,000.00 £1,059,348,000.00 £3,764,994,000.00
Wales & West G Distribution -£24,400,000.00 £25,900,000.00 -£176,900,000.00 £263,100,000.00 £87,700,000.00
TOTAL PROFIT £30,486,463,000.00
Cost per household £1,051.26

Data as at 26 March 2024.

The data was compiled by freelance business journalist David Craik. David’s experience has included writing business and city news and features for national newspapers and magazines such as The Daily Mirror, Sunday Times, Wall Street Journal, Scotsman and Daily Express. Much of his content focuses on company financial results and reports in the energy sector and on personal finance issues including wealth management, property, investing and managing household budgets and bills. If any firm wishes to correct the records below, please email

Energy firms’ profits surge as households left in the cold

Weeks of autumn profit announcements by energy firms have come at the same time as data from the Warm This Winter campaign found that over a third (38%) of people from vulnerable households think they won’t or may not be able to afford to put the heating on at all this winter.

Among the recent announcements were National Grid, which posted profits of hundreds of millions of pounds in their distribution and transmission businesses. SSE also declared  £335m profits in similar parts of its company.

A large part of these profits come from the firms’ role as Distribution Network Operators (DNO) for electricity, which customers pay for through Standing Charges. In practice, it means that these firms can vary the cost of bills for people across different regions it provides electricity to.

For example, in the East Midlands, National Grid customers have the cheapest energy in the UK, but households it serves in south west England are paying £75 more every year in standing charges.

Ofgem has now announced an investigation into Standing Charges and a spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

“The announcement of a Standing Charges review is a welcome step forward. Recent Warm This Winter Tariff Watch reports have highlighted how we need much more transparency in how our energy bills are calculated and the factors that go into calculating what is seen as a fair tariff.”

Another firm which benefits from Standing Charges is Scottish Power which is both an energy distributor and a supplier to households. Its Madrid-based parent company Iberdrola posted profits of 3.4bn Euros for the first nine months of 2023.

The supplier, which was previously named and shamed by Ministers as the worst culprit for forcibly installing prepayment meters, was recently granted 124 warrants for forcible PPMs in a move that has sparked concern among campaigners and politicians.

Jonathan Bean from Fuel Poverty Action, said:

“Firms are celebrating bumper profits whilst energy firms continue their plotting to restart the abhorrent process of breaking into homes to install prepayment meters

“It’s yet another example of firms profiting from misery.”

As research for Warm This Winter found that among those badly affected by the energy bills crisis are pregnant mothers and young families, all aspects of the energy industry have enjoyed a profits bonanza.

BP announced £2.7bn profit and Shell reported over £5bn profits.

Shell was recently offered 10 of the new 27 oil and gas licences in the North Sea by the Government. However, an audit of production data by analysts at Uplift found that across the hundreds of licences offered by UK governments since 2010, just 16 days of new gas has been delivered to the grid – half of which was sent to the Netherlands.

Equally, Norwegian firm Equinor’s profits continued to soar – up to £6.6bn according to the latest results. The company will also enjoy a tax break from the UK Government for its controversial Rosebank field.

Reporters at Bloomberg concluded that this field won’t begin pumping oil and gas until at least 2026, and it isn’t large enough to have an impact on the security of UK energy supply or prices

Fi Waters, spokesperson for the Warm This Winter said:

“These profits are shocking as 38% of vulnerable households say they cannot afford to put the heating on at all this winter. That’s pregnant women, the elderly, families with young kids and people with long term illness.

“The Government must step in and provide a consistent Help to Repay scheme for households in energy debt and an Emergency Energy Tariff guarantee which is available to all vulnerable households, regardless of supplier.”

The Emergency Energy Tariff would use the existing Energy Price Guarantee mechanism to fix the unit costs and standing charges for vulnerable groups at a lower level. Campaigners have suggested that this is fixed at the levels of energy bills in winter 2020/21, which would see eligible households’ monthly energy bills reduced by approximately £87 a month from current levels – a saving of around 46%.

Proposals for such a move are backed by 83% of the public and the initial research to inform the development of the Emergency Energy Tariff and targeting of support was undertaken by the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and Cambridge Architectural Research.

Dr Tina Fawcett, Associate Professor, University of Oxford:

“Our research has helped identify how to effectively target vital support to households most at risk this winter. To avoid future energy bill crises, locally we need more investment in energy efficiency and energy advice, and nationally we must rapidly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

The public can sign the petition supporting an Emergency Energy Tariff online:

Energy suppliers could bank £1.74bn profit in next 12 months

Household energy suppliers could rack up £1.74bn in profits over the next 12 months from customers’ energy bills.

Over the previous six years, suppliers have seen the amount of profit they are allowed to make every year on the average customer on the variable tariff surge from £27 in spring 2017 to a high of £130 in early 2023. The figure currently sits at £60 per customer. [1]

With energy bills expected to remain close to current levels, the energy firms are set to continue to profit from so-called EBIT and headroom allowances in the price cap. [2]

The figures and predictions exclude any profits which firms may also make through Ofgem decisions relating to Covid and Ukraine allowances, which contributed to the recently announced high profits for British Gas and Scottish Power.

The figures come from the first Warm This Winter Tariff Watch report, produced in partnership with Future Energy Associates (FEA). The study has revealed the secret data behind Britain’s broken energy system. Campaigners plan to run the report quarterly as the energy crisis continues.

While energy prices are subject to change and customers should exercise extreme caution when thinking about switching and fixing, FEA experts forecast that there are some deals worth looking at for some households. 

For example, from 1 July, some one year fixed price tariffs with a low exit fee (below £80) and unit charges of 6.5 p/kwh for gas (gas standing charge 29 p/day) and 30p/kwh for electric (electric standing charge 52 p/day) might be worth some high-use energy users considering switching to. [3]

The FEA experts predict that the current best variable deal could be with two different suppliers, Home Energy for gas and Fuse Energy for electricity which would save £93 a year for direct debit households when compared to the Ofgem Price Cap. [4]

Throughout the first few months of 2023 there were just 5 fixed tariffs available to small sections of the market. So far in July alone, this number has doubled, with 10 fixed tariffs newly available on the market.

In April 2023 there were 26 energy suppliers offering customers tariffs, which increased to 29 in July 2023.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, commented:

“This report shines a light on the murky depths of Britain’s broken energy system. Without fundamental overhaul of the energy grid and energy tariffs, households will continue to lose out while suppliers will profit.

“Energy supplier profits predicted for the next 12 months could easily cover the cost of a ‘help to repay’ energy debt scheme and leave quarter of a billion pounds left over.

“But in addition to network reform and immediate support, we also need to see urgent and sustained action to reduce our reliance on high levels of energy consumption, such as improving the energy efficiency of homes, driving an increase in cheap renewables and a move away from the fossil fuel profiteers of the past.”

Tessa Khan, Director of Uplift, said:

“The government seems to think the energy crisis has gone away, but for millions of households this winter will be as hard as the last. For energy companies to be pocketing this money, when bills are still twice what they were and so many people are being pushed into energy debt, is completely unacceptable.

“People will rightly ask what this government has done over the past year and a half to fix Britain’s broken energy system and lower bills for good. Instead of looking after the bottom line of the big energy companies, it needs to help people save money with more support for insulation and get on with ramping up cheaper renewables. That’s the only way we’re going to see permanently lower energy bills.”

Dylan Johnson from Future Energy Associates added:

“Our report reveals that the retail energy market is experiencing swift changes: falling wholesale prices are influencing retail costs, more fixed tariffs are available, and new suppliers are entering with innovative tariffs. Yet, questions persist over the speed of these changes, supplier profiteering, and regulator’s role in promoting competitiveness. The emergence of competitive single-fuel deals, while exciting, may pose risks to households less vigilant of tariff prices.”

Another injustice highlighted in the Warm This Winter Tariff Watch report are regional variations in the cost of energy. The figures shine a light on those areas of the country who are losing out because of regional inequalities at the hands of suppliers and Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). On the standard variable tariff:

  • Electricity: The average standing charge is 56.85 p/day (pence per day), and the average unit rate is 32.1 p/kwh (pence per kilowatt hour). Manweb, which covers Merseyside, North Wales and parts of Cheshire, has the highest standing charge for electricity at 65.8 p/day, while London has the lowest at 41.9 p/day. Seeboard (South East) had the highest unit rate at 33.2 p/kWh, and Yorkshire the lowest at 31.1 p/kWh.
  • Gas: The average standing charge is 33.5 p/day, and the average unit rate fell by 27.7%. For gas, Scottish Power and Scottish Hydro have the highest standing charges of at 33.9 p/day (£124/year). For unit rates, Swalec (South Wales) is the most expensive region with average unit rates of 7.73p/kWh and East Midlands is the cheapest gas region with unit rates of 7.34p/kWh.

Further data on the impact of standing charges will be published in future Warm This Winter Tariff Watch reports, but overall electricity standing charges remained unchanged from April to July. There was evidence of some early moves from the likes of Fuse Energy to compete on electrical standing charges, but others such as Outfox the Market raised standing charges.

For the gas standing charges, there were no changes from April to July in any of the regions, it remained constant at 29.11 p/day. This is significant as households in July, August and September will still be paying record high standing charges.

Bethan Sayed from Climate Cymru commented:

“Regional variations in energy prices are one of the most unjust parts of Britain’s broken energy system and this report shows wild variations in cost from region to region. These figures shine a clear light on those areas of the country who are losing out. It is time for Ofgem to step in and investigate these discrepancies and provide more transparency on why these differences exist.”


Notes to editors

This press release refers to England, Scotland and Wales only. For full details, methodology and sources, download the full report online:

[1] Ofgem have allowed profits (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes [EBIT] and the Headroom Allowance Percentage [HAP]) to increase because it’s a percentage of the total bill, which includes wholesale prices. In Q1 2023 (Jan, Feb, Mar), this was up to £130 annually per medium use customer household dual-fuel bill on a single rate, versus £27 in Q2 2017 (Apr, May, June) for the same customer.  Profits have come down as wholesale prices have come down, in Q2 2023, this same customer was paying £98 – still an increase from 2017 of 263%. Other costs are already accounted for in the price cap rising. Values are from Ofgem’s historical cap levels data. All firms offering the Standard Variable Tariff (SVT) were permitted to make this level of profit from customers. Those energy firms that collapsed or posted losses will have done so due to wider customer acquisition coupled with risky hedging strategies or operating issues which negated the profit permitted under the SVT regime.

[2] Cornwall Insight energy bill predictions. Ofgem data shows the number of households on the standard variable tariff. Figure derived from the profit figure in [1] being extrapolated across all 29 million households. This is the level of profit permitted by the Ofgem licence conditions. Energy firms may make more money than this off fixed term tariffs and recent Ofgem allowances for Covid true up and Ukraine Wholesale Cost Adjustments. Equally, firms may declare less profit in annual reports, due to over-running costs in other areas or accounting measures. While energy bills are set to fall back slightly, equally Ofgem are looking to increase the permitted profit margin further, to as much as 2.4% from later in 2023.

[3] From 1 July, a tariff with an annual cost of less than £1,946 (gas unit rate 6.5 p/kwh, gas standing charge 29 p/day, electric unit rate 30p/kwh, electric standing charge 52 p/day) AND which has an exit fee of less than £80 might be worth switching to. This is for households that pay for their fuel through a direct debit and have average energy consumption. Other customers are advised to stay on variable tariffs for now. Advice provided in this press release should not be seen as formal financial advice. Energy prices are volatile and subject to significant changes at short notice. Ofgem updates its price cap calculations every quarter. Future Energy Associates advise that households who suspect they may be on overly expensive energy tariffs should explore alternative options on price comparison websites, consult with their energy suppliers, or seek guidance from consumer advocacy groups, such as Citizen’s Advice to determine the most suitable steps for them.

[4] Best tariff prices correct as of 25 July 2023. The energy market is constantly changing and customers should always check for the best deal based on their actual usage. The information on suppliers is solely a reflection on tariff prices and takes no other factors into account (e.g. customer service levels, support for vulnerable households etc). Households should always think before they fix.

Energy firms cash in on cost of living crisis

Energy firms have been cashing in on the energy bills crisis as Shell has held its AGM.

In the first three months of the year alone, Shell made a profit of more than £7.6bn. BP have also recorded bumper profits, enjoying one of the company’s best ever starts to the year. Despite the windfall tax, energy firms have still been able to profit from the misery of people living in cold damp homes.

National Grid, the firm which runs the energy network, similarly reported a boost in annual profits to £4.6bn. This had led to calls for a higher windfall tax for energy companies. 

Scotland-based energy firm SSE’s profits have also rocketed to £2.53bn.

To put these profits into context, Energy UK estimated that the current energy debt in the UK has soared to around £3.6bn. Profits from the National Grid alone could completely wipe out energy debt for the entire country.

Meanwhile, a groundbreaking report from One Earth has calculated that fossil fuel companies owe at least $209bn in annual climate reparations to compensate communities which are suffering climate catastrophes as a direct result of global warming.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented: 

“The scare stories from industry about the impact of the windfall tax on energy firms have not materialised, with more massive profits being posted. Meanwhile the Ofgem Price Cap is set to keep household energy levels at historic highs.

“Closing the energy firms’ windfall tax loophole could have almost eradicated fuel poverty last winter, but instead people suffered in cold damp homes. 

“Now we are seeing the first signs that energy suppliers – as well as the producers – will be cashing in on the energy bills crisis with fixed term energy deals designed to boost their profits.”