Direct Energy, one of the largest retail energy providers in the nation, announced that operating profit for the first half of 2012 came in at $263 million, which the company credits to continued sales growth and overall improvements in its operations.

The company stated that the large half-year profits were due to a stronger customer base, especially in its residential wing of operations. The highly competitive electricity markets in Texas and the Northeast also helped bring in higher revenue, as did overall improvements in the company's upstream and downstream operations.

"Direct Energy delivered a solid first half, continuing to invest for growth across the business," said Chris Weston, president and CEO of Direct Energy. "Despite the challenges related to gas prices and mild weather during the first half of the year, the momentum gained from our recent acquisitions has provided further capacity for growth, operational improvements and cost efficiencies, which positions us well to deliver on our year-over-year profit growth targets."

The energy provider has been working hard in recent months to attract new customers, notably through rewards programs. Its most recent, the Reduce Your Use For Good Grant program, provides up to $100,000 for non-profits if they implement energy-saving changes.