Centrica shareholders' anger at meeting after 1.9 million customers leave British Gas in four years

  • Video report by ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills

The annual general meeting is that rare moment when the people who run a public limited company come face-to-face with the people who own it. They can be feisty affairs.

Centrica has been having a rough time of it of late and many shareholders arrived in a combative mood.

British Gas continues to lose customers - 183,000 households between January and April

British Gas is still the UK's biggest gas and electricity supplier but it has lost 1.89 million households since January 2015 when Iain Conn became Centrica’s chief executive. Its share price recently fell to lowest level in 20 years

Iain Conn was awarded £2.4 million in pay and bonuses for 2018. Conn insists he spent every pound he had received in bonuses on buying shares in the company.

One shareholder joked his bonus of £776,000 was the equivalent of £1 for every customer who left British Gas last year.

Conn expressed “regret” at Centrica’s performance but insisted the company had been hit by an "almost perfect storm": the Government's cap on energy prices; milder weather; lower commodity prices and outages at two nuclear power stations.

The chair of Centrica’s remuneration committee told shareholders Ian Conn was rewarded in line with company’s new pay policy which they had over-whelmingly supported.

Scott Wheway argued that in 2018 Centrica was one of the better performing companies on the FTSE 100.

And he said if the terrible start to this year continued then future bonuses would reflect that.

In the end, 85% of shareholders backed Conn’s pay award. This proved to be more of a grumble than a rebellion, but there’s trouble brewing unless Ian Conn can demonstrate he can turn things around.