British Gas owner Centrica plans to axe 1,310 jobs and make its first price cut in five years after this winter.

The company faced criticism when it raised prices twice this year. British Gas lost nearly a million accounts this year, amounting to 6% of its UK customers.

The company confirmed late last week 700 office roles at the Residential Unit of British Gas will go and that it will close its London headquarters and relocate some staff to Staines in Surrey. The British Gas services team will lose 340 jobs and a group-wide restructure will axe a further 240 jobs.

It did say, however, it hoped to redeploy 500 staff in customer service roles. But the work will result in a £300 million exceptional charge on this year finances.

The plan to cut prices next spring are the result of falling wholesale gas costs, as the UK experiences its warmest winter so far on record and additional supplies begin to come through from Holland and Norway.

A major UK IT user in the UK, Centrica has embarked on a desktop, collaborative and productivity focused IT infrastructure refresh, which last week saw it announce it had made £2.5m profit by consolidating disparate technologies running its corporate intranet on Microsoft SharePoint 2003. This was in line with its overall commitment to a Microsoft-based platform.

Ranked number 19 in the CIO 100 top UK IT end-user organisations in 2006, the company is currently implementing what Peter Brickley, Centrica CIO told the magazine may be the largest SAP for utilities project in the world. The project, known as Jupiter, aims to provide a single point of contact for customers and billing.