British Gas caught peddling misinformation

Yesterday, in response to another Greenpeace UK request, I was one of many who emailed the CEO of British Gas (i.e. Centrica) to complain about their blaming high energy prices on investment in renewable technology. I was very surprised to receive a detailed response from British Gas within hours but, having read it, I was infuriated further by the suggestion that we do not have the technology to produce renewable electricity on a 24/7 basis (when we do). Greenpeace were annoyed too – by this and many other things that were deeply misleading and/or just plane wrong. Here is their response to misinformation from British Gas: ——————————————– Hi there, Thank you for emailing Centrica to demand an end to the gas-fuelled energy rip-off. Chances are you’ll have received Centrica’s response. The detailed reply from CEO Sam Laidlaw dodges the crucial point – that it has installed the least renewable energy of the ‘big six’ energy companies. It’s time to pin Centrica down. We need Centrica to champion a clean energy future that puts renewables and efficiency at its heart and brings bills under control. The Government’s climate advisors recommend that we need to clean up our electricity system by 2030 in order help tackle climate change. You can help again by replying to Sam Laidlaw, telling him to publicly back this key recommendation. Sam’s email is also misleading on many other points. Here is some of the key ones, along with our responses: Centrica claims to have spent £3bn on “all forms of low carbon power” in the last 5 years. This includes a £2.2bn investment in Britain’s ageing nuclear power stations, not the new infrastructure that the UK requires. Centrica paid 17% of cash flow to shareholders. Cash flow is not profit; it’s the total amount of cash generated by a company, much of which is used, for example, to pay employees, so this is simply a misleading statistic. Between 2007-11 Centrica paid out an average of 74% of its operating profit – not cash flow – to its shareholders. This is more than any other company. Centrica claim bills had gone down last year Well, last winter was the second warmest on record so it isn’t surprising people used less heating. Since the price per unit of gas and electricity actually rose, it seems Centrica’s strategy to cut bills is to hope for good weather. Centrica claims wind is more expensive than gas Wind technology will only get cheaper and even Sam Laidlaw recognizes that gas prices will keep going up; he has said as much in The Guardian. Centrica claims to provide “free” insulation and energy efficiency schemes These are paid for from consumer’s energy bills, so hardly “free”. They were also criticized for trying to meet targets by giving away 52 million energy efficient light bulbs rather than providing proper insulation. Their response suggests we should pledge our energy future to expensive, imported gas – an energy source that will only get more expensive. Instead, they should be investing in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency that will bring bills under control and tackle climate change. You can read the full text of our open letter to Sam Laidlaw on our website. To date more than 7000 people have taken action – something Centrica can’t ignore. As well as replying to Sam Laidlaw’s email, you can increase the pressure on them by forwarding this email to three friends asking them to take action, or by sharing on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks! Pete Speller Greenpeace UK


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Consumerism, Economics, Environment, Fossil Fuels, Greenpeace, Renewable Energy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s