Boss of British Gas owner paid £4.5m despite prepayment meter scandal
The boss of British Gas owner Centrica has been paid £4.5m despite a scandal at the company over the forcible installation of energy prepayment meters in people’s homes.
Chris O’Shea’s pay for 2022 includes £3.7m in bonuses, a £790,000 salary and £16,000 in benefits, according to the company’s annual report.
It is up from £875,000 a year ago, when the chief executive chose to defer awards worth £1.6m, including a bonus, as millions of customers struggled with surging energy bills.
It comes after Centrica was found to have sent debt collectors into the homes of vulnerable customers to force-fit prepayment meters.
Centrica first had to obtain court warrants to gain the legal right to enter the properties, after customers were unable to pay their bills.
It has prompted Ofgem, the industry regulator, to temporarily ban the practice among energy companies and launch an investigation. The ban will continue until a new code of practice has been put in force.
Mr O’Shea has told MPs he will not comment on the scandal until the investigation has concluded.
The company’s pay committee, which includes former home secretary Amber Rudd, said Mr O’Shea had met his targets for the year in full, including publishing an energy transition plan and launching a new net zero division.
It also claimed he had “successfully navigated challenging regulatory and political issues”.
The pay packages follow record annual profits of £3.3bn at Centrica – triple the previous year’s figure – on the back of huge rises in energy prices following the outbreak of the Ukraine war.
At the same time, finance chief Kate Ringrose received £1.1m including bonuses worth £576,000.