BRITISH Gas has said its 500% increase in profits is the result of charging people much more money to buy gas.
Unveiling its annual results, the company insisted the £480 million profit jump vindicated its strategy of making it a lot more expensive to cook food and keep warm.
Tom Logan, the company's head of external relations, said: "Our senior management team spent 18 months looking at a range of options until someone suggested just putting all the prices up.
"It was a real 'eureka' moment. The finance director was dancing around the boardroom, swigging champagne from the bottle and shouting 'I love gas! I love gas!'. Happy days."
Roy Hobbs, from the Gas Consumers Council, said: "I remember saying to people at the time, I said, 'see all these price increases, yeah? Well that's going to result in much bigger profits for all these companies'.
"I said, 'if they charge you a lot more money for the stuff you are buying, it means they will have a lot more money left over after they have paid all their costs'."
Mr Logan added: "If our customers are unhappy with the current price structure, I would simply remind them that we operate within a free market.
"There is absolutely nothing to prevent them from setting up their own gas company. I suggest they grab a spade."