Blackout Britain warns energy chief

20 February 2014

Static-Electricity-tw We're all set to live in frequent darkness, and that's not the scaremongers talking - this is according to the bloke who runs British Gas.

Rick Haythornthwaite - the chairman of Centrica (who own British Gas) and possibly owner of a fictional surname - has said that the political debate over energy prices risks "the lights going out" in the whole of Britain and that blackouts were "looming much larger" and no longer the "figment of a scaremonger's imagination".

What's caused this jumpy warning? Well, for a kick off, Ed Miliband has said Labour plans to freeze energy prices if they win the 2015 election and energy secretary Ed Davey has suggested that Centrica should be broken up.

"I think the reputation of Britain as a place in which to invest is under threat and the time to correct that is now, not after the 2015 election, by which time the possibility of the lights going out in Britain will be looming much larger," he said. "And I don't see this as the figment of a scaremonger's imagination. I think right now we've got to restart collaborative, constructive dialogue around these key issues; we cannot afford to wait, hostilities have got to cease."

Sam Laidlaw, another bigwig at Centrica, added: "We firmly believe that any form of price control in a competitive market is not the answer and is not in the best interests of customers, and this has been clearly demonstrated by experience in other markets. Such proposals create both short-term uncertainty for all energy suppliers and longer-term additional costs for customers."

Things are tough at British Gas. They've lost 462,000 customers since 2012, with a whopping 100,000 ditching them in the past two months. Profits are down and the company have been raising tariffs. All the energy companies, currently, look worse than bankers and trust is low.

However, with people like Laidlaw on £5million a year, it seems there'll be little sympathy for political hostilities toward the energy sector, especially if it seems like they're ready to switch the lights off in Britain, in a sulk.

TOPICS:   Utilities


  • Phuck Y.
    Profits down to £571m I'm surprised Laidlaw can afford to eat.
  • loishamaltone
    Well thats just what they would say isn't it. Privatise a monopoly and flog it off to shareholders and what do you get, a privatised monopoly, except one that has to generate ever increasing profits for the investors. Nobody cares about the core business of ensuring that the lights stay on, just that those magic numbers keep increasing. Pity labour hasn't the balls to state they would take the utilities into public ownership like a large amount of the public and many in the party actually want. They would win, with a landslide.
  • Jack S.
    Hear! Hear! (no its not "here, here" you utter morons)
  • Marky M.
    So if shareholders are investors, why does every privatised monopoly from water to rail continually raise prices whilst parping on about needing profits "to invest and improve"? Surely the shareholders are doing that? Aren't they?
  • Cynical S.
    “the lights going out” in the whole of Britain .........well that`s ok Mr British Gas man because the lights in my house are electric and not gas.
  • Celebrity S.
    “the lights going out” in the whole of Britain and that blackouts were ”looming much larger” and no longer the “figment of a scaremonger’s imagination” said Rick Haythornthwaite. Well Mr Rick Haythornthwaite , i`ll be ok thankyou very much as the lights in my house aren`t gas anymore.
  • Bogbrush
    no party wants, nor can the country afford, the huge cost of re-nationalisation, maintaining the network and investing billions in new energy creation (power plants and the like).
  • madhatter
    Go for it I say! The shares would drop like a stone, weve got candles and if I want internet I can use my phone if I have to. Dont give in to this intimidation....
  • loishamaltone
    Indeed Bogbrush. Thats the issue innit, but where is the incentive for the 'New energy creation' at the moment. Fracking is the next big thing, mainly because even though it is expensive and highly polluting it is still cheaper to 'Frack' than build new wind turbines/solar/hydro generators. Environment be damned, its short-termism at its most damaging. Shareholders expect profits now, not in 20 years time which would be the probable payback of green technologies. We can pollute the seas, knacker up the countryside as long as the profits keep rolling it. Yes re-nationalisation would be expensive, hard and a legal minefield but remember the rail and power grids were developed by nationalised industries, and these firms are benefiting from that now. They were built back when light and gas were not a given and frankly we need the same sort of commitment now towards green technologies which only nationalised industries, for all their faults can provide. Private industry isn't going to give a damn about pollution unless they are forced to, and the sure has hell won't be 'investing' in the slightly less profitable solar and wind unless they are forced to or chucked a massive cash bung off the government. As I see it. The oil beneath our feet, the wind in the air, sun in the sky and the power of our seas isn't the property of some for profit PLC, but the shared property of all of us. We shouldn't allow private industry to get us all over a barrel, but it should be exploited for the good of society both now and in the future.
  • buffylass
    oh dear me is the bogey man coming out to try to scare us, well let me tell you the only thing you scare us with is the price hikes that you make us pay, now we are fighting back, you don't like it yr nowt but bullies and bullies always get caught out. Shame on you

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