An open letter to Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas

Dear Mr Bentley;

Thank you so much for your email informing me that, as of the end of September, my utilities prices will be increasing by the tune of 42% for gas and 21% for electricity. Your considerate action in passing me this information has already given me a warm glow that will doubtless keep me cozy through the coming winter months, and it is on behalf of the elderly I would like to express particular gratitude, for they will surely benefit even more than myself.

I look forward to the follow-up email at the end of the present financial year which will inform me that your salary and bonuses have been decreased by a similar percentage; a mean value of the two should be about 30%, I would estimate. Please be forewarned that should I not receive such an email, or should I hear that, once again, your company has posted record profits for the year, you should look forward to a gift from me in the post in the form of a large packet of fresh Caribbean sea urchins. To derive full enjoyment from these, be sure to grasp the packet in both hands and squeeze as hard as possible.

Yours sincerely

Paul Graham Raven

5 thoughts on “An open letter to Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas”

  1. The poor get colder, the rich get greedier

    Today I await the arrival and installation of a pre-payment gas meter as British Gas are anxious that I clear my £1,167 fuel debt. Like many others I will manage without fuel during the summer months – happily I have an electric shower and microwave until the electricity supplier gets greedy – but in the winter will have to choose between food and heating.
    I am applying for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust, a charitable trust established to assist people with utility debts. Important sections of the form enquire how customers initially accrued the debts, and what steps they intend to take to avoid them in the future. The questions assume fecklessness of the debtor, rather than avarice of the creditors’ directors and shareholders.
    This is how I would like to reply to these sections:-
    SECTION 10
    Please tell us why you cannot pay your gas/electricity debt (if you are applying for a grant from other funds managed by Charis Grants in addition to the British Gas Energy Trust you must complete section 10 to cover all Trusts for which you are applying. See guidance notes at Section 13). Continue on a blank page if necessary.

    Unlike Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas, who saw his annual income rise to £1.249 million after being awarded a 15% pay rise last year, my own income has failed to rise in line with prices. Despite suffering the coldest winter on record, the government neglected to increase benefits. In addition, British Gas took the opportunity to increase fuel prices by 25% while announcing that its profits had doubled.

    Please tell us how a payment from us would help you budget better in the future

    A payment would prevent me from dying of hypothermia this year should the winter be as cold as last. It would enable me to survive to pay over my meagre income for exorbitant gas, so that Mr Bentley can spend the winter on his yacht in the Caribbean. I can do this by cutting my food supply. At present I am eating once a day, but if I budget to eat only every other day I will be able to afford the prices charged by British Gas. This will also mean that I will only need to clean my teeth three times a week, thus saving money on toothpaste which I will set aside for the next price rises.

    SECTION 11
    Please see guidance notes at Section 14
    Please tell us how the need has come about

    The present ConDem coalition has decided that the budget deficit caused by the avarice of the bankers should be paid for by the poorest sections of society. Policy dictates that ‘we are all in it together’, which means that the rich and powerful should not have to suffer a decline in living standards just because the poor are cold and hungry.

    Please tell us how a payment would help you

    See Section 10. The alternative is that I do not survive, which means that British Gas will not get any money because dead people don’t get any income. We must not let that happen. When people die of hypothermia or starvation it is the directors and shareholders of the creditors who lose out. This is what happened when my disabled mother’s only source of heating was expropriated by one of Mrs Thatcher’s newly privatised utility companies in the 1980s. After she died I was visited by a representative of this company who asked me to pay the outstanding sum. I refused, as so my son will do if this happens to his mother.

  2. Following the letter from Ian Peters, Managing Director, British Gas Residential notifying of price increase, 22 Oct 2013 perhaps you got it too?

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could turn it around…
    If only we could…

    Dear Service Provider

    I am writing to let you know that we will soon be cutting payments. I know you won’t welcome this news but if you can take a few minutes to read on, I will explain why we have made this decision. I will also tell you about other changes we are making and how you can help us to pay you more again in the future. 

    Why are we cutting payment?

    There are a number of costs that make up ‘the cost of living’ that we don’t directly control. Unfortunately, these costs continue to rise.

    We’re constantly having to upgrade items to be at standards demanded upon us. Too keep up we must have new fuel efficient cars and up to date computing technology so that we can maintain connections. The cost we have to pay if we do or do not have these things is increasing. 

    Our wages remain poor and risk of redundancy is increasing in a number of key markets

    Not cutting our payments would mean our investments our future – keeping food on the table and heating on – would be at risk.

    This means that, for a typical supplier, standard payment will decrease by 8.6%* from 23rd November 2013. Learn more about how we will pay you less.

    Sign up to Stick or Twist

    Sign up to Stick or Twist November 2014, and our payments to you will stick at our new rates until 30th November 2014. It means our payment per unit won’t go down, and if there is a twist in the scheme of things and our cost of living relating to earnings improves, our payment to you will increase to reflect this.  Please see below for Stick or Twist November 2014 terms and conditions.

    Alternatively, with our Fixed Price March 2016 option you can choose to fix our payments to you  until 31st March 2016, at a premium of (a number which we have calculated so that we can’t loose, but looks good to you) compared,  to our new standard payments per unit as at 23rd November 2013.

    To fix your prices with Stick or Twist November 2014, sign up by 23rd November 2013, or check your other options.

    How else can we help you?

    We offer a wide range of services which could help improve our payments to you:

    Individuals are offered for employment at your business where the rate of pay may equate to agreed % above the cost of living with bonus for turning up each day, regardless of the quality or appropriateness of work carried out. For full details of this offer please click the link below. 

    For several other ways that we may be able to help, take a look online.

    Other important changes you need to know about

    Our regulating group has been working together to make improvements.  Following this we will be removing certain payment schemes. We are now not allowed to pay by certain methods in order to save you money, however we will be including this in our payment adjustments. 

    I hope you can see that despite these changes there is still nothing we can do to increase payments to you. However, if you wish to no longer supply energy to us before any of the changes I have outlined in this email take effect, please line up a new supplier and have them contact us within 20 working days of 27th November 2013†.

    I appreciate that some of these changes are complicated and if there’s anything you haven’t understood in this email, please call 0800 OMG REALLY. 

    Lastly, I would like to thank you for  providing services to us and I hope you continue to be a supplier. 

    Yours sincerely

    Valued Customer

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