Eon has denied claims from The Mail on Sunday that they were involved in the former energy minister John Hayes exit from his post.
The Mail claims that Hayes had a secret meeting with Eon-UK chief executive Tony Cocker on 13th March to urge him to speak out against green policy. Hayes allegedly asked Cocker to warn of blackouts unless the government delayed the closure of coal plants such as Kingsnorth in Kent. This would breach European legislation.
Ed Davey the energy secretary, is said to have ‘hit the roof’ when he heard of the meeting and demanded that Hayes be removed from his post. A fortnight later Hayes was moved to a more minor role in Number 10.
The Mail quotes that a source ‘close to Hayes’ has said that he was acting on encouragement from prime minister David Cameron “John said the PM agreed that the energy crisis was getting worse,” the source told the Mail. “And Lib Dems are more interested in impractical green policies and not upsetting their friends in Brussels than keeping the lights on.”
In his Lincolnshire constituency, John Hayes was known for his lobbying against wind and solar developments, and this stance is rumoured to have played a part in his exit from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
On Sunday, Eon issued a statement firmly rejecting the suggestion it was involved in some kind of secret plot. It said: “We’re working very hard to become our customers’ trusted energy partner and inaccurate articles such as the one in today’s Mail on Sunday are not helpful.”
A statement was released that said “The Large Combustion Plant Directive, which requires the closure of certain plant, “was discussed”, but “at no point was Dr Cocker asked to challenge energy policy by John Hayes”.