Centrica chief defends firm’s renewable efforts

Centrica’s boss was forced to reply to an e-mail from Greenpeace campaigners last night in an attempt to defend his firm’s commitment to renewables. This came after the British Gas […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Centrica’s boss was forced to reply to an e-mail from Greenpeace campaigners last night in an attempt to defend his firm’s commitment to renewables.

This came after the British Gas parent company’s HQ in Windsor was temporarily blockaded by Greenpeace protestors yesterday morning, who complained about “rip-off” energy bills.

The campaigners criticised the Big Six energy firm for letting “gas hikes” drive a rise in bills and claimed Centrica wasn’t investing enough in “clean, cutting-edge renewable energy and energy efficiency”.

Sam Laidlaw, Centrica’s chief executive wrote in response: “Centrica has been at the forefront of investing in renewable energy for some time, so I was disappointed to see that this message has not yet got through.”

While admitting the campaigners had “raised some important points”, he said they were “wrong” to suggest Centrica invests less than its competitors in low carbon technology.

Mr Laidlaw also said it was “incorrect to suggest that we distributed 74% of our profits to shareholders last year,” and said only 17% went to shareholders, while 31% to investment, 26% to its 40,000 employees and 26% to taxation last year.