By Max Clarke

The energy giant behind British Gas has hinted on an imminent hike in energy prices.

Centrica (LSE: CNA) has seen wholesale gas prices spike 25% following unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and catastrophe in Japan- a rise that has yet to be matched by rises in consumer prices.

In their Interim Management Statement, Centrica discussed the ‘challenging’ conditions facing the giant in 2011, including a 19% drop in residential gas consumption- driven in part by falling household incomes, and by a warm start to the year following the sub zero start to 2011.

The company states cementing their small business customer base with ‘their retail skills’ as the path towards delivering profits, rather than continueing to focus on residential.

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