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Boss of defunct energy firm Bulb still being paid £250,000 a year despite collapse, MPs told

·3-min read
When Bulb collapsed it had around 1.6 million customers on its books (Alamy/PA)
When Bulb collapsed it had around 1.6 million customers on its books (Alamy/PA)

The boss of bailed-out energy supplier Bulb is still being paid the same £250,000 salary that he was collecting before the business went into administration.

Hayden Wood, who set up the company, was asked by administrators to stay on in his role as chief executive after it failed in November, and continues to receive nearly £21,000 a month.

Bulb was bailed out by the Government last year and ministers set aside £1.7 billion to cover the normal running of the firm until a buyer could be found.

Mr Wood refused to say whether that is imminent when he was quizzed by MPs on the future of the company.

With the benefit of hindsight what we would have done is begin fundraising conversations sooner

Hayden Wood, Bulb

Speaking to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, he said: “I don’t think it responsible for me to share details of an active sales process that is ongoing right now in a public forum.”

Mr Wood said he is still receiving his salary, but has never been able to get a bonus from Bulb.

“The energy crisis of last year was, I think everyone agrees, unprecedented and unfortunately led to the company failing,” he said.

“Up until the autumn of last year we had been running those models, we had not seen a significant risk.”

He added: “With the benefit of hindsight what we would have done is begin fundraising conversations sooner”, which would have let his company hedge for customer use.

In September, the chief executive tweeted his agreement with a statement that while there were real issues in the energy industry, the idea of a “crisis” was being pumped up by the former Big Six energy suppliers.

When Bulb collapsed it had around 1.6 million customers on its books, meaning it was too big for the Government to allow it to go through the normal process that suppliers enter when they fail.

Avro Energy, with 580,000 customers, was the largest supplier to fail which went through the normal process.

Its chief executive, Jake Brown, said the business paid a £250,000-a-month fee to a management company that he part-owns, and that was how Avro paid for his services and the work of six other senior managers.

However he admitted that he did not run Avro on a full-time basis, but worked for a number of firms through the management company.

When quizzed by MPs, Mr Brown repeatedly declined to name the other managers that worked for Avro, and gave little detail on their past experience before working for the company.

He eventually said that his father had been financial director, working for Avro through the management company that they owned together.

He said the business had not hedged as much as it could have because bosses believed the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia would come online and push down prices.

That would have left Avro with large costs if it had bought energy in advance.

The pipeline was completed in September last year, the same month that Avro collapsed, but has not yet come online due to the Russian war in Ukraine.

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