Centrica Chief Declines Bonus as Customer Bills Climb

Centrica Plc Chief Executive Officer Sam Laidlaw declined to take a bonus this year after an increase in energy bills sparked outrage from customers last month.

“I’ve already decided to turn it down,” Laidlaw said today at a conference in London.

Centrica, the largest energy supplier to U.K. households, plans to raise prices an average 9.2 percent in November, more than three times the rate of inflation. The utility, one of four to announce price increases in October, blamed the move in part on an increase in wholesale energy costs and government levies.

The state grants subsidies to renewable-power projects in the U.K., paid for by a fee on consumers’ energy bills.

If the government were to drop the “green levy” next month, Centrica would cut its prices immediately, Laidlaw said. The Windsor, England-based utility expects “pretty modest returns” from all its businesses this year, with its gas-fired power plants forecast to lose 130 million pounds ($207 million).

Laidlaw earned 950,000 pounds last year and was awarded a bonus of about 1 million pounds, of which he deferred 855,000 pounds, according to Centrica’s annual report.

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