OVO and SSE unveil 2,600 redundancies following merger

Linda J. Dodson

Energy supplier OVO announced deep job cuts and office closures on Tuesday morning, as lockdown pushes more customer service online and dramatically reduces the need for technicians in the field. 

The company, which acquired energy giant SSE in January for £500m, said it was accelerating a three-year restructuring plan in to a matter of months.

The move is likely to stoke anger at the group, where staff who moved over from SSE were promised there would be no job losses.

More than 2,600 jobs are now expected to be eliminated, while offices at Selkirk, Reading and Glasgow will be closed.

The vast majority of roles that are expected to be made redundant are field-based, including smart meter technicians.

OVO said it had seen a 92pc reduction in smart meter installations, which have completely stopped since March.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of OVO, said: “Today is a very difficult day.” 

“What should have been a much longer process to digitise the SSE business and integrate it with OVO has been accelerated due to the impact of the coronavirus,” he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that his company was seeing a rapid increase in customers using digital channels to contact OVO, and this would likely usher in a new era for the business.

The company said it had seen over one million online transactions in April alone.

“Once customers start to engage differently they do not go back,” he said. “As a result, we are expecting a permanent reduction in demand for some roles, whilst other field-based roles are also heavily affected.”

Just weeks before the novel coronavirus began to wreak havoc on the world’s economy in January, OVO completed its acquisition of SSE, one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK. 

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