Furlough repaid

British Gas CEO waives bonus as profits surge

British Gas
British Gas saw a flood of complaints over service

British Gas owner Centrica posted a surge in profits amid soaring gas prices and announced that its CEO will waive his annual bonus after the company was bombarded with complaints from angry customers.

Chris O’Shea will forfeit the £1.1 million award he is due on top of his annual £775,000 a year salary.

Adjusted operating profit for the year to 31 December more than doubled to £948m from £447m a year earlier. Statutory operating profit came in at £954m against a loss last time of £362m.

No dividend was proposed but the company, which trades as Scottish Gas north of the border, is repaying £27m received in 2020 through the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Complaints about the firm’s HomeCare cover, which provides boiler insurance, more than doubled in the first half of last year to 191,414 from 69,665 in the same six months of 2020.

Customers said they faced weeks without heating or hot water while engineers repeatedly failed to turn up as promised or were unable to attend to repairs for several days. There have also been complaints about an inability to speak to a person to discuss problems. 

Centrica said its 2022 outlook was broadly positive, but cautioned that “high and volatile wholesale commodity prices and a changing regulatory environment create a wider range of outcomes than normal.”

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