Centrica boss Laidlaw tells Greenpeace 'your policies would make bills even higher'
Centrica CEO Sam Laidlaw has hit back at claims from Greenpeace campaigners accusing the company of under-investing in renewables and pushing up energy bills by investing in gas. He also disputed assertions about the firm's investment rate and payments to shareholders.
- Eggborough on a knife edge as Decc rations 'go-early' contracts
- Fallon: new nuclear will generate up to 41,000 jobs
- Iberdrola credit rating hit as Spanish government abandons electricity sector bail out
- Electric car battery trial gets £3m from energy storage fund
- Consumers see the big six as the same
The campaigners yesterday entered Centrica's headquarters in Windsor and attempted to find Laidlaws office in a bid to highlight rising bills and their desire to see more focus on renewable power. They intended to do that by redecorating the office with giant energy bill wallpaper. Instead, they decamped to a meeting room, but the act still kept around 500 employees out of the building until around 4.30pm, when the campaigners left.
Laidlaw accepted Greenpeace's assertions that wind energy was the cheapest form of renewables, but said it was still two to three times more expensive than generating power from gas. He suggested that the policy Greenpeace advocates would make energy bills even bigger stating that if gas were to be replaced by wind to heat UK homes, the average heating bill would rise by three to four times.
"The other thing to remember is that renewable energy is intermittent," Laidlaw said in a statement. "We need to keep our homes, offices and factories working when the sun doesn't shine and when the wind doesn't blow and, because the technology hasn't yet been invented to store electricity on a large scale, we need gas-fired power stations to provide backup generation."
Laidlaw also refuted Greenpeace claims about shareholders taking almost three quarters of Centrica profits and its investment record, claiming that it had spent £3 billion on low carbon power in the last five years.
- Major suppliers pledge back billing cap to protect small businesses All major suppliers have promised to limit back billing of small businesses to one year, after Ofgem raised concerns.
- Big bucks from mini-bonds With many banks effectively closed for business, mini-bonds offer a good alternative to SMEs, says Gerry McGowan.
- Crunch time for renewables The UK renewables sector should be sitting pretty with £29 billion of investment waiting in the wings, but much of that...