How the big energy companies CEOs would power 20,000 UK homes - Dispatch Weekly

April 20, 2022 - Reading time: 7 minutes

The UK’s Big Six energy companies raked in more than a billion pounds of profit in the year 2021, paving the way for a record-breaking price hike. In 2020, Britain’s biggest energy firms earned £3 billion profit – with their bosses listed among the UK’s top earners.

The Scottish Power CEO Mr Anderson appeared before the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee alongside the bosses of E.ON, EDF and Centrica, which owns British Gas.

Mr Anderson said it was too soon for people to have run up large debts as a result of the April price rise but there was a “massive anxiety” about what they were going to do to cope with the soaring costs of gas and electricity.

The Scottish Energy Company made £600 million in 2021 alone in profit. Last month, the company was forced to apologize for telling its customers why they should do star jumps to keep their bills down.

Scottish Power and British Gas acquired £423 million before taxes. EDF Energy and E.ON lost £154 million in losses.

E.ON CEO Mike Lewis

Analysis of E.On, EDF and Scottish Power’s most recent accounts showed they paid their top brass £4.65m between them. Michael Lewis was rewarded with an estimated £1m.

Total £4.65m

Scottish Power CEO Keith Anderson 

ScottishPower paid £1.65m to three directors, with chief Keith Anderson believed to be on £1.15m and a £140,000 pension benefit. 

Total £6.3m

British Gas-owner Centrica CEO Chris O’Shea

Chris O’Shea Centrica’s most recent accounts showed operating profits of £699m and at least four board members are multi-millionaires. Its non-executive directors were paid almost £1m.

Total £7.3m

EDF Energy CEO Simone Rossi

Simone Rossi earned £1m despite the French-owned company recording a £345m loss in the UK. 

Total £8.3m

SSE / OVO Energy CEO Alistair Phillips-Davies

Recorded profits of £1.5bn in 2020, gave £2.41m to its chief Alistair Phillips-Davies and paid its directors almost £5.2m in 2020.

Total £13.5m

If you are on a dual-fuel energy tariff, you will have to pay £693 more next year. However, this annual hike is worse for low-income households. These households are most likely using pre-paid meters because they cannot get credit checks. As a result, they are financially hit with an increase of £708.

So if we take the total amount of £13,500,000 and divide it by the price increase of £708 we get nearly 20000. This means that CEO salaries could support price increases of 20000 families or 80000 individuals. 

£13,500,000 / £708 = 19,067

When it comes to the cost of living crisis in Britain, some prices have risen as much as 12% in just one year. Prices for essentials like food and clothing have also been on the rise. In December 2021, inflation jumped to 5.4%, its highest level in almost 30 years.

Much poorer households will be most hurt by the increased cost of food and housing. Poorer households spend twice as much on these things as do richer households, according to research from the Resolution Foundation.

In the meantime, British Gas customers have taken to social media to share their anger and frustration. “Absolutely furious at British Gas,” one said on Twitter. “I logged onto accounts to find they had been closed w/no warning.” 

A British Gas spokesperson said: “We’re sorry that a small number of customers have seen a message pop up on their account saying it’s been closed while we carried out this work.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.