Sam Laidlaw
Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, has promised to give up his bonus (Reuters)

British energy giant Centrica achieved the highest profits for 2012 out the UK's "Big Six" providers.

A report by the regulator Ofgem showed that the company made the highest profit margin of 6.6% in 2012.

Rival EDF energy had the lowest margin and made a loss of 1.4% last year.

The average profit made by utility companies per customer was £53 (€63.4, $85.7) in 2012, up from £30 in 2011.

This was mainly due to the below average temperatures in winter which caused energy consumption to rise, according to the report.

Gas consumption during 2012 was 12% above that in 2011.

Household bills rose on average by £168.

In 2012 the average household bill was £1,174 compared with £1,006 in 2011.

The country's "Big Six" suppliers are Scottish Power, EDF Energy, SSE, Centrica, RWE npower and E.ON

Ofgem defended the profits made by UK energy providers, pointing to the cost of building new power stations.

Centrica chief executive, Sam Laidlaw, pledged to forgo his annual £2.6m bonus following political and public anger surrounding the continual increase in energy prices.