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Ovo Energy plans to cut 2,600 workers as online replaces human jobs

[LONDON] Ovo Energy plans to cut 2,600 staff as customers use digital tools to contact the energy supplier, cutting the need for people.

Since its acquisition of SSE Energy Services last year, Ovo has been planning the integration of the two businesses which "would have always required difficult changes", the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The impact of the coronavirus has accelerated this, requiring changes to be made much faster than anticipated.

"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," Stephen Fitzpatrick, Ovo's chief executive officer, said. "We face a new reality and need to adapt quickly."

Ovo snapped up SSE's retail customer business at a bargain price after a deal with Innogy fell through in 2018. The acquisition positioned the company as the second biggest electricity supplier in Britain.

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Ovo is opening a voluntary redundancy application programme for 2,600 roles. The company said energy demand isn't decreasing. Since the lockdown began, SSE customers have made more than one million online transactions in April.

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