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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
New head of British Gas appointed
Gas ring on cooker
UK households are reeling from a string of utility bill rises
Centrica has named its finance director Phil Bentley as the new head of its British Gas business.

The 47-year-old will take over from Mark Clare who announced his departure in June this year.

The role will be a high-profile one, with Mr Bentley overseeing the bills of 16 million gas and electricity users.

Mr Clare's four-year tenure was marked by a string of inflation-busting energy bill increases, including March's 22% price rise and another this month.

The company blamed the rises on the high price of wholesale gas and energy prices, which led to British Gas turning in a loss of 143m for the six months to June, compared with a 165m profit at the same time in 2005.

However, its latest price increases - 12.4% for gas and 9.4% for electricity - drew fire from consumer groups as Mr Clare had said after March's rise that there would be no need to raise prices again this year.

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