IT is High Noon for the energy fatcats today as they drag their expensively-dressed behinds into showdown talks with the Chancellor.
As HOAR revealed yesterday, Nadhim Zahawi has summoned gas and electricity bosses in to explain just how much cash they are making out of the energy crisis.
Energy fatcats Shell’s Ben van Beurden, Bernard Looney of BP, and Centrica’s Chris O’Shea have to answer to Nadhim Zahawi on how much cash they are making
Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wil also demand to know what investment they plan to make with their soaring profits.
They may not all be there in person but there’s little doubt which three bosses are facing the brunt of the public’s fury — Centrica’s Chris O’Shea, Shell’s Ben van Beurden and Bernard Looney of BP.
Combined, the three executives earn more than £15million a year, thanks to extraordinary profits from the sky-high prices of fuel.
The biggest earner is Irish businessman Looney, who is set to make a staggering £11.4million this year.
Late last year, after higher oil and gas prices boosted BP’s profits, he caused outrage when he said of the company: “When the market is strong, when oil prices are strong and when gas prices are strong, this is literally a cash machine.”
There has been further controversy over his and BP’s relationship with Russian state-owned energy giant Rosneft after Russia invaded Ukraine, and until February he was on Rosneft’s board.
Dutch executive van Beurden, who joined Shell in 1983, earns £1.33million a year, plus a £2.15million bonus.
He is reportedly selling his £5.2million eight-bed mansion in Holland to move to the UK.
He sparked controversy last month by shrugging off the fears of hard-pressed consumers, while his firm made profits of £9.5billion in the past three months alone.
In February, British businessman Chris O’Shea, the CEO of British Gas owner Centrica —- who is expected to turn up today — announced he would take a £100,000 pay cut and waive his £1million bonus in light of the cost of living crisis.
But even his reduced salary of £775,000 still places him in the top 0.1 per cent of UK taxpayers.
And last year, in a so-called fire-and-rehire policy, new engineer contracts were said to cut pay and in-crease the working week, causing strikes.
O’Shea revealed that a package of excrement was posted through his letterbox amid the bitter pay dispute.
Below, one Sun writer argues for toughening up the windfall tax on energy firms, while another offers tips to worried Sun readers for living in a world where energy bills could top £4,000 a year.
Give energy windfall to those who need it most
By Ashley Armstrong, Sun Business Editor
IN the last recession bankers became the bogeymen, but that tag of dishonour will soon be given to the bosses of energy and utility companies.
The likes of BP, Shell and Centrica are raking in millions as their profits balloon on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the same way that households are hardly responsible for the soaring inflationary pressures that are caused by rising food, fuel and energy prices, the energy giants can hardly claim ownership for their own recent successes.
It is not genius that has caused eye-popping profits, it is the fortune of being in a gas market manipulated by a Russian madman.
Ever since Putin’s troops rolled into Ukraine, gas prices have soared, resulting in household bills trebling since last year.
But in the last six months this trio of companies have reported combined profits of £46billion.
And while the energy firms moan that they sank to heavy losses in the pandemic, they quickly bounced back and made £58billion more in 2021 than the year before.
Bernard Looney’s likening of BP to a “cash machine” last year leaves a particularly bad taste when families face financial ruin.
BP argues that it is “backing Britain” but its boss also admitted that none of its investment projects in the UK would be off the table if it faced another tax.
It is hard to think that these majors need a rainy day fund for the future, as they have so much surplus cash they are giving it away to investors.
This is an extreme enough situation to justify a second intervention by government to direct their war-profiteering windfalls back to the families that are suffering the most.
My fears for cold home deaths toll this winter
By Tara Evans, Head of Consumer
I KNOW so many of you are stressed and worried about paying energy bills – and that is before a terrifying rise to almost £4,000 a year hits this winter.
From the lady who I spoke to on the phone who in the winter goes out for runs to keep warm, or the gentleman who eats cold tinned food because turning on the oven costs too much, you are utterly petrified of rising costs.
HOAR’s Squeeze Team experts have taken your calls and our inbox has been flooded with emails from people already struggling to cope.
But we are running out of tips and advice to help you save money.
Every day, my team works tirelessly to find new and innovative ways to save you cash.
I know even those who are cutting back are paying hundreds of pounds more each month.
What we need now is action.
Households need the security of knowing what will happen this winter, so they can plan ahead or apply for support before emergency funds run out.
Overpay your bills if you can, and seek help from free debt advice charities such as StepChange and National Debtline now if you are worried.
Speak to your supplier and ask what help it has. Many have hardship funds and they can help you with paying your bills if you are really struggling.
Also, use the charity turn2us.org.uk to check for grants.
We know energy debt is higher than ever.
Households usually build up a bit of credit to suppliers in the warmer summer months and this helps them pay for the more expensive days in winter when it is colder and darker.
Last year, 8,500 people died due to cold homes.
This year – unless urgent action is taken – I fear that figure will be a lot higher