2,500 jobs cut as Ovo and SSE Energy Services merge

Ovo Energy on Tuesday announced proposals to cut 2,600 jobs across SSE Energy Services and Ovo “largely through voluntary redundancy over the course of 2020.”

Offices in Selkirk, Reading and Waterloo Street, Glasgow, will be closed.

In January, Perth-based energy giant SSE plc completed the sale of SSE Energy Services, its household energy business in Great Britain, to Ovo Energy for an enterprise value of £500 million.

“Since the acquisition of SSE Energy Services, Ovo has been planning the integration of the two businesses which would have always required changes,” said Ovo.

“The impact of COVID-19 has now accelerated changing consumer behaviour with more and more customers going online and using digital tools.

“This has permanently reduced the demand for some functions and roles. 

“Employees were informed this morning of the changes and consultations will continue with the trade unions and employee representatives.

“The constructive dialogue with the trade unions also helped to find an agreement on offshoring.

“Prior to its acquisition by Ovo, SSE Energy Services had already begun an offshoring programme with hundreds more roles due to follow.

“Ovo has agreed to suspend this additional round of planned offshoring activity, minimising UK job losses.”

Ovo CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick said: “Today is a very difficult day.

“We have a brilliant team here and this news isn’t a reflection of anyone’s work.

“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.

“We are seeing a rapid increase in customers using digital channels to engage with us, and in our experience, once customers start to engage differently they do not go back.

“As a result, we are expecting a permanent reduction in demand for some roles, whilst other field-based roles are also heavily affected.

“There is never an easy time to announce redundancies and this is a particularly difficult decision to take.

“But like all businesses, we face a new reality and need to adapt quickly to enable us to better serve our customers and invest in a zero carbon future.” 

As part of the integration, Ovo said it will “remove complexities and duplication by combining SSE Energy Services and Ovo’s home services, lettings business, metering, commercial efforts and support functions.”

It will continue to digitise “legacy SSE processes” and move the business onto a common set of systems to meet the demands of an increasingly digital consumer and a more agile workforce. 

“To accommodate these changes, and as part of a move towards more flexible working, the Selkirk, Reading and Glasgow Waterloo Street office locations will be closed,” said Ovo.

“The employees in these sites will be able to either work from home or at an alternative office.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.