The union for energy workers have condemned the payouts to Centrica’s bosses’ and slammed it as “obscene” as five executives got a total of £16.4 million in pay and bonuses last year.
The figure is from its Annual Reports and Accounts for 2012, which also showed British Gas made £606 million in profits last year – equivalent to nearly £50 per household. The company said its revenue from continuing operations increased to £23.9 billion last year compared to £22.8 billion in 2011.
The news comes after British Gas announced a 6% hike in energy prices at the end of last year, leaving many householders struggling to pay their bills.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for gas and energy workers said: “GMB condemn these salaries paid from the budgets of hard pressed households. It is obscene and is the straw that could break the back of corporate excess. Cedric the Pig may have to hit the streets again to protest at such greed. We need renationalisation to bring down executive pay in natural monopolies like energy and water.”
Centrica said the pay and bonuses are “based squarely on performance”. A spokesperson added: “In 2012, we delivered another year of consistent earnings growth and invested £2.7 billion to secure energy supplies for our customers as we continued to improve service levels both in the UK and North America.
“In the current climate there is – understandably – a wider debate in society about pay differentials. What we are focused on at Centrica is ensuring that pay and bonuses are fair and that we are clear in explaining our remuneration.”
The report also claims Centrica invested around £2.7 billion in 2012, helping to secure supplies for the UK, of which £2 billion was invested in North Sea oil and gas assets. The company said it aims to integrate its natural gas business, focus on innovation to drive growth and increase its returns through efficiency.
Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw said: “Centrica has a robust balance sheet and generates strong cash flows and we retain a number of investment opportunities across the Group. This combination, allied to our expertise and experience both upstream and downstream, defines Centrica’s core capabilities.
“However, we will maintain capital discipline, as evidenced by our recently announced £500 million share repurchase programme, only investing where we see value. Our aim now is to use those strengths to innovate and grow while adapting to a rapidly evolving energy world, serving our customers and delivering value to shareholders.”