Centrica CEO Sam Laidlaw Forgoes Bonus Amid Energy Bills Fury

The boss of British Gas owner Centrica has chosen not to take his bonus this year in the wake of continuing anger over rising energy bills, including British Gas's 9.2% hike.

Speaking at the CBI annual conference on the topic of trust in business, Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw said trust in the energy sector had fallen to "all time low" and he had decided not to take his bonus.

He explained: "Just to continue in this world where households are under pressure, and assume it is business as normal, is not the way thoughtful remuneration committees think about it."

Laidlaw's base pay was £950,000 last year, but with other payments his total package was just under £5 million.

There are two bonus elements, an annual incentive scheme and a long-term incentive scheme. It is understood his announcement relates to the annual scheme, which pays an average of 180% of his base pay, which is estimated to be worth just over £1.7 million.

In 2011, Laidlaw cashed in £3m of deferred bonuses in shares, which had been built up over three years. A year later, Laidlaw was awarded a £848,000 bonus that would vest three years later.

Laidlaw said the energy industry was "in the eye of the storm", conceding that firms should be more transparent, explain how bills are made up and improve the process of switching suppliers.

The Centrica chief insisted that British Gas had no scope to switch profits from one part of its business to another, saying that the firm would immediately pass on any savings to the consumer if green levies were reduced.

He said: "We are listening - we get it, absolutely. We know there is a problem."