Live updates

Centrica boss: Big energy firms 'absolutely not a cartel'

The boss of Centrica, which owns British Gas, told ITV News the 'Big Six' energy firms are "absolutely not a cartel" after Ofgem's review found evidence of possible tacit co-ordination.

The energy watchdog said it did not find evidence of explicit collusion between the firms but said the timing and size of price announcements were part of the evidence that showed possible tacit co-ordination.

Sam Laidlaw told ITV News he "refutes totally" the idea that the 'Big Six' are a cartel and claimed that the energy market is "vibrant" and "very competitive."

Read: Inquiry a significant moment but it will take two years

Advertisement

Centrica: Uncertainty could damage energy investment

The chief executive of Centrica, which owns British Gas, has welcomed the major competition inquiry into energy firms but said a lengthy review could damage investment when the market's "security is being seriously challenged."

Centrica head office in Windsor, Berks. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Sam Laidlaw said: "Anything that clears the air and helps rebuild trust in the industry must be a good thing. Britain's energy market is highly competitive and we believe that a full independent review by a respected regulatory authority would demonstrate precisely that.

"Competition is working, providing choice for consumers and some of the lowest prices in Europe.

"We hope that a lengthy review process will not damage confidence in the market, when over £100 billion of investment in new infrastructure is needed.

"A prolonged period of uncertainty could damage investment at a time when Britain's energy security is being seriously challenged."

Read: Inquiry a significant moment but it will take two years

Three energy firms yet to decide on bosses' bonuses

Energy bosses were forced to defend recent hikes in energy prices to a committee of MPs last week.

Three energy firms have said they have not yet made a decision about bonuses for their respective chief executives.

A spokesperson for npower said bonuses would be "reviewed in the new year", SSE said it would "take all factors into consideration including the general external environment" and Scottish Power said it "evaluates individual performance against the agreed criteria at the end of the financial year."

Centrica boss Sam Laidlaw announced he has decided not to take his bonus this year.

Are energy firms about to follow the example of banks?

by - Former Business Editor

Are energy companies about to follow where banks went before?

This lunchtime, the boss of the biggest of the big 6, Centrica, told me that he had decided not to take a bonus this year.

The head of Centrica, Sam Laidlaw, has decided not to take his bonus this year. Credit: PA Wire

It's important to remember the firm's board won't have made that decision yet anyway, but he is removing himself from even being considered for one.

High pay for bankers certainly met with massive public anger during the worst of the financial crisis.

But it will be interesting to see if Laidlaw's decision makes much difference to anxiety over bills, and whether the bosses of other energy companies follow.

Read: Centrica chief forgoes bonus amid energy bill rise row

Advertisement

Centrica chief forgoes bonus amid energy bill rise row

The head of Centrica, which owns British Gas, has decided not to take his bonus this year as anger over soaring household energy bills continue.

The head of Centrica has decided not to take his bonus this year. Credit: PA

Read: How UK energy prices compare to other EU countries

Consumers' trust in the energy sector is at an "all time low" and there was an urgent need to rebuild it, chief executive Sam Laidlaw said at the CBI annual conference in London.

He announced his decision not to take bonus and added that there was a need for leadership in the current environment which had to be balanced with being able to attract employees.

"Just to continue in this world where households are under pressure, and assume it is business as normal, is not the way thoughtful remuneration committees think about it," Mr Laidlaw said.

He also repeated the industry's pledge to cut bills if the Government switches environment and social costs to other forms of taxation.

Free Saturday power plan 'to reduce weekday demand'

British Gas owner Centrica hopes a scheme to offer free electricity on Saturdays will encourage households to use electrical appliances at the weekend, when industrial demand is lower.

The development came as Centrica hinted at further price rises as British Gas announced profits from its residential arm rose by 3.2 percent, thanks to the freezing spring weather.

British Gas Residential saw profits from its energy supply increase to £356 million in the cold weather.
British Gas Residential saw profits from its energy supply increase to £356 million in the cold weather. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive

Earnings increased to £356 million during the first half of 2013, as the company cashed in on the bitterly cold temperatures after raising tariffs six percent at the end of last year

Read: British Gas profits up 3.2 percent

British Gas could offer free electricity on Saturdays

British Gas has said it could offer free electricity on Saturdays in a bid to reduce demand on weekdays.

The energy firm has announced plans to trial the initiative and could make it available to customers by mid-2014.

A gas hob and a British Gas bill.
British Gas has said it could offer free electricity on Saturdays. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

British Gas owner Centrica already offers a Free Energy Saturdays tariff to customers in the US.

A spokesman for Centrica said: "We are looking to see whether we can introduce it into the UK for customers with a smart meter.

"Once we have trialled it, if it works then we could potentially offer it as a product for customers from the middle of next year."

British Gas 'to offer free electricity on Saturdays'

British Gas is poised to offer customers free electricity on Saturdays, according to a report in the Financial Times (£).

British Gas is poised to offer customers free electricity on Saturdays according to a report in the Financial Times.
British Gas is poised to offer customers free electricity on Saturdays according to a report in the Financial Times. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Centrica, which owns British Gas, hopes the tariffs would encourage customers to concentrate their energy use at weekends when overall demand is low.

Proposals for the new energy tariff, which could be introduced next year, are similar to deals offered by American provider Direct Energy, a sister company of British Gas.

Earlier: British Gas profits up 3.2%

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories