Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of OVO
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of OVO

MORE than 2,000 employees of energy supplier SSE are set to lose their jobs as new owner Ovo announced sweeping redundancies across its business.

Ovo will ask its staff to apply for voluntary redundancy as it tries to shed 2,600 roles after the coronavirus crisis forced it to speed up integration plans.

Around eight in 10 of these will be among the workers who came to Ovo as part of its £500 million deal to buy SSE’s retail arm

It will close its office in central Glasgow’s Waterloo Street, Selkirk and Reading.

Jobs are also expected to go at offices in Perth, Cumbernauld and Cardiff.

They include about 1,000 customer care call centre staff and nearly as many meter readers. The increased deployment of smart meters, automatically reporting data, is removing the need for people to visit homes. Due to the lockdown, no such visits have taken place since March.

Ahead of the bulk of job losses being announced, it was revealed that 215 electrician and boiler repair technicians are losing their Ovo jobs as well, as the company winds down SSE’s range of support services.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Ovo Energy founder and chief executive, 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.”