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OVO furloughs 3,400 staff in response to COVID-19

Image: OVO.

Image: OVO.

The UK’s second largest energy supplier, OVO Energy, has furloughed 3,400 members of staff.

The furloughed workers are those within OVO and SSE Energy Services whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19, the company said.

Those particularly affected are staff members who generally work in customers homes, such as smart meter installers and meter readers. Whilst emergency work is carrying on, the vast majority of activity has been halted in line with government advice.

Following discussion and agreement with the relevant Unions, 3,400 staff members have been placed on furlough to provide certainty over the coming months, OVO said.

Those on furlough will receive 80% of their pay up to £2,500 per month from the government as part of its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. OVO will top up and cover the additional cost above the £2,500 cap.

Its executive team and senior directors have also voluntarily taken a 20% reduction in salary for the next three months, with the money to be donated to those impacted by COVID-19.

OVO became the second biggest UK supplier earlier this year, following its £500 million acquisition of SSE Energy Services, which completed in January 2020.

Centrica – which owns the UK’s largest supplier British Gas – also released an update today, announcing the cancellation of bonuses for management, a halting to its dividend payments and the suspension of its sale of Spirit Energy.

OVO appointed three new senior retail staff members in January following the completion of the acquisition, with Bill Castell joining as chief financial officer (CFO), Charlotte Eaton as chief people officer and Raman Bhatia as chief operating officer (COO).

The same month, it agreed to pay £8.9 million after Ofgem found IT problems resulted in the issuing of inaccurate information and the under and overcharging of consumers.

There are no changes to customer service as a result of today’s announcement, it said.

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