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OVO Energy today confirmed its purchase of SSE’s retail energy offering in a move which was first reported in August and will now be completed at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.
OVO has paid half a billion pounds to take on SSE’s 3.5 million customers and 8,000 staff, making it the second-biggest energy supplier in the UK after British Gas. In total, the supplier will be responsible for five million households and 10,000 staff.
This move was not unexpected; it had been widely known that SSE was looking to offload its energy retail business to focus on other areas, and a potential merger between SSE and npower was called off earlier this year in the wake of the energy price cap’s introduction. SSE and OVO confirmed their discussions over a potential sale earlier this year.
SSE customers have been told not to worry about their supply being interrupted or any other problems occurring. The effect should be the same as switching supplier normally, with the energy that customers use simply being attributed to OVO as opposed to SSE. Both suppliers scored highly in Uswitch’s 2019 annual supplier awards, with OVO winning Supplier of the Year and SSE winning Large Supplier of the Year, so a strong record of customer service on both sides should help alleviate any concerns.
Uswitch energy expert Rik Smith said "SSE has been looking for a buyer for its home energy supply business for a long time, while OVO has been steadily growing and is already the seventh largest supplier in the market.
"Where they go with their prices remains to be seen, but there are also questions about the brand name that will on people's bills in future. SSE customers are very loyal to its Swalec, SSE, and Scottish Hydro brands in various parts of the country.
"OVO is also known to be at the forefront of new technology such as electric vehicle charging and smart meters, and buying the current second largest supplier in the country means there is a huge opportunity for them to expand further in this area.
"SSE customers should have nothing to fear from this takeover, but as ever, anyone who has concerns about their supplier's price or service should shop around to see if there is a better deal for them elsewhere."