Business winners and losers: Bord Gáis owner braced for UK customers not paying their energy bills

Business winners and losers: Bord Gáis owner braced for UK customers not paying their energy bills

Centrica, the UK energy and power utility which owns Bord Gáis Energy here, is to cut costs further — including cancelling its shareholder dividend payment — as it braces for British customers to stop paying their electricity bills and a drop in usage of its services amongst business clients due to the coronavirus shut-down.

Centrica said it expects to see an increase in customer bad debt “as certain customer segments defer payments due to the reduction of household incomes and business revenues”.

However, here Bord Gáis Energy has said it remains too early to say how much of an effect Covid-19 is having on its business.

Regarding residential customers, it said it has halted its credit and collections process, so that customers in temporary arrears will not get reminder notices, and is not disconnecting customers for non-payments.

“We know some customers are concerned about paying their bills, and we’ve been doing our best to help them,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, A4E — the representative group for Europe’s top-five airlines — has hailed as “a much-needed first step” towards easing liquidity constraints the postponement of air traffic control charges until the end of the year.

However, one of its members – Aer Lingus owner IAG - has further reduced its capacity from 75% to 90%. British Airways – also owned by IAG – has also scrapped dividend plans and is in talks with unions over suspending 32,000 employees.

Recruitment giant Hays has raised around £200m (€226m) via a share placing to prop up its finances as it braces for a collapse in income. Hays said the crisis has prompted “a very material deceleration in client and candidate activity” and warned that net fees could fall by 35% this year.

Meanwhile, Boots owner Walgreen Boots Alliance said second quarter sales rose nearly 4%, but warned of an uncertain impact from Covid-19.

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