Npower chief accused of dodging the watchdogs
Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of Parliament's public spending watchdog, has condemned the chief executive of RWE npower for failing to face her committee during extraordinarily hostile exchanges with his substitute.
Paul Massara, who has led the big six energy company since January last year, had been asked to give evidence to yesterday's hearing of the Public Accounts Committee over the impact of infrastructure investment on water and energy bills.
Instead, he sent his more junior head of policy and public affairs, John McElroy, even though Mr Massara had found time in the morning and the previous evening to fulfil media commitments. Mrs Hodge asked Dr McElroy: "Paul Massara had dinner with journalists and toured the studios on [BBC Radio 4's] Today programme and 5 Live. Why isn't he here? What's he doing that's more important than accounting himself to his customers before Parliament? He's chosen not to be here and I don't take to that very kindly."
Dr McElroy said that he "was not exactly certain" of his boss's whereabouts, before firing back that RWE was "mystified" as to why the company had been called to the grilling of utility companies and regulators.
Mrs Hodge countered that this was a "rather pathetic response", while the Labour MP Austin Mitchell accused Dr McElroy of "not being able to speak with the same authority" as Mr Massara would have done. The MPs' committee asked whether loans taken out by overseas companies also owned by the foreign parents of RWE UK and Thames Water led to inflated bills. RWE is German and Thames Water is backed by Australia's Macquarie.
Mrs Hodge accused an RWE vehicle based in Malta, which loaned the UK business £2.3bn, of being "tax avoidance". Dr McElroy dismissed the claim, arguing that this had "no impact on the UK whatsoever".
Nick Fincham, Thames Water's director of strategy and regulation, also faced criticism for the £4bn plan to replace London's 19th century sewers with the Thames Tideway tunnel. Mrs Hodge, a possible Labour mayoral candidate for the capital in 2016, said this "would lumber Londoners with £80 a year extra on their bills".
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...