Chris O’Shea, chief executive of industry giant Centrica, admitted that customers hitting the cost of living were already struggling with everything from filling up the car to doing their weekly grocery shopping
The boss of British Gas’s owner has acknowledged the “pain” caused by the looming rise in energy bills this week as he announced an extra £2million to help struggling homes.
Chris O’Shea, head of industry giant Centrica, admitted cost of living From filling up to the weekly shop, Hit customers have already had to struggle with everything.
This is before British gaslike other providers, will increase prices for millions of customers starting this Friday.
It follows regulator Ofgem’s decision to raise its price cap by an average of 54% for 22 million homes to allow suppliers to recoup rising wholesale energy costs.
In response, British Gas is now increasing an emergency fund to £6million.
Mr O’Shea, writing in the Mirror, accepted that the company was “not perfect”.
It comes after Centrica announced last month that annual profit more than doubled to almost £1bn, with British’s up 44% to £188m.
The company argued that about half of that was then paid in taxes.
Mr O’Shea also urged government and regulators to go further to protect customers when suppliers go bust.
The £6m British Gas Support Fund offers grants of between £250 and £750 to help cover their energy bills.
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Applications are managed by the British Gas Energy Trust.
It was developed for British Gas energy customers with savings of less than £1,000 who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
Over 2,500 grants have been awarded with an average grant of over £550.
More than a third of recipients receive disability benefits and many are families.
Commentary by Chris O’Shea
When energy regulator Ofgem raises the cap on gas and electricity bills for most people this week, I know what pain this increase will inflict on households across the country.
Every week we hear from customers who are struggling to make ends meet – whether it’s filling up the car, doing the weekly grocery shopping or raising the money to heat their house.
At British Gas we are not perfect – we know that – but we are trying our best to help our customers through this time.
That’s why we paid a further £2million into the British Gas Support Fund today, bringing the total to £2million
£6 million. It is the largest energy assistance fund in the country and is available to those of our customers who need help most.
To date we have contacted almost 100,000 customers who are delinquent on their bills to see if they would like to access this fund. And to be clear, this is not a loan – it does not have to be repaid.
We realize it can’t help everyone, but the £6m British Gas Support Fund
British Gas or our competitors.
And then there’s a further £85m that we’ve recently paid to customers under the Warm Homes Discount scheme.
The bigger challenge going forward is for companies like ours to work with government to ensure we have an energy sector that is better prepared to withstand the pressures next time.
And I would make a few recommendations when it comes to politics.
First, we must do everything we can to protect and reassure customers. At the end of last year we saw supplier after supplier go bankrupt.
Pretty much all had been using their customers’ money to try to keep their businesses afloat, rather than setting it aside to pay for gas and electricity like they were supposed to.
More than £500m in customer deposits have disappeared. And we all pay for that.
This is why the subscription fees have gone up – not because the cost is higher, but because everyone is in it
the UK must help replace this ‘lost’ money. We believe this is wrong and Ofgem needs to fix this.
Our cost of living Team of experts is here to help YOU through a very difficult year.
They bring you the latest money news and also offer expert advice.
Whether it’s skyrocketing utility bills, the cost of weekly groceries, or increased taxes, our team is always by your side.
Every Thursday at 13:00 they participate in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. visit facebook.com/dailymirror/live watch. You can read more about ours team of experts here.
If you have a question or would like to share your story, please contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have taken steps to protect our customer deposits and we believe every supplier should do the same.
If you agree, tell your supplier.
Some will say they use it to pre-purchase gas and electricity – but know that reputable utilities don’t actually pre-pay for energy.
Secondly, it was good to see that the Chancellor abolished VAT on energy saving measures last week, but we need to see more.
We need to make sure the policies are in place to encourage consumers to switch to low-carbon energy sources.
The move to net-zero requirements can be affordable, but to ensure it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, we need to have a proper debate on how best to pay for that cost.
Not only will these changes help reduce emissions, but they will also build a more sustainable energy market and help keep bills under control in the future.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/leading-energy-boss-admits-brits-26597631 Top energy chief admits Britons face 'pain' on cost of living amid soaring bills