Ovo Energy set to slash 1,700 jobs as crisis escalates

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Ovo is expected to cut a quarter of its workforce as part of cost-saving measures to cope with the energy crisis.

Ovo Energy will slash 1,700 out of 6,200 roles, Sky News reported, as well as closing sites to focus on three locations in London, Bristol and Glasgow. It will also open a new academy in the Scottish city.

The new strategy involves a commitment to raise minimum pay to £12 an hour and moving all customer-facing jobs to the UK.

Domestic providers have been squeezed by the Government’s price cap while global wholesale power costs have soared. 

About 26 have gone bust over the past five months including Bulb, the seventh-biggest supplier with 1.7m customers.

They all stopped trading except for Bulb, which was bailed out with £1.7bn of taxpayer money.

Ovo had considered a takeover of Bulb before its collapse and is still expected to bid to take on its customers.

The Bristol-based supplier was established in 2009 and took over SSE’s retail arm in 2020, increasing its customer base to 4.5m.

It is now the UK’s third-largest gas and electricity supplier, behind Centrica’s British Gas and E.ON Next.

The Unite union said it warned in 2020 that Ovo was taking a risk when it took over the retail base of energy giant SSE.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said the union would do everything in its power to defend members’ jobs.

“All and every option will be on the table. As a first step the company must now open the books to union experts. We will not sit by and watch our members being made to pay the price of the pandemic,” she said.

The news comes days after SSE Energy Services was ridiculed for suggesting households do a “few star jumps” and “have a cuddle with pets or loved one” to keep costs down.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Ovo’s founder and chief executive, apologised and blamed the gaffe on an employee having “a bad day”.

The company declined to comment on the restructuring programme.

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