UK’s SSE to cut 440 jobs – union blames resistance to smart meters


SSE Energy is planning to cut approximately 440 jobs in its retail division, allocating blame to a number of factors including the introduction of the energy price cap, and tough competition coupled with increased costs.

According to the company, the “voluntary enhanced redundancy opportunities” will cover both the customer service and smart meter installation teams.

The price cap came into effect in early 2019, and limits the amount suppliers can charge on standard variable tariffs and prepayment meter tariffs.

Tony Keeling, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Head of Retail, at SSE Energy Services said: ​“Like a number of suppliers, we are facing challenges due to competition increasing, the introduction of the energy price cap and higher operating costs.

“To run a sustainable business, we need to become more efficient and ensure we have the right number of employees in the right locations to best serve our customers. We are committed to engaging and consulting openly and transparently with colleagues, our trade union partners and appropriate employee representatives and have today announced Voluntary Enhanced Redundancy opportunities for some of our customer service and metering teams.”

Britain has a 50 million smart meter rollout to almost 30 million homes to complete by the end of 2020.

A December 2018 update from the government noted that approximately 12.8 million smart meters had been installed as at the end of September, indicating that the country was at risk of not meeting the 2020 target.

Unite the Union, a trade union with more than 4,000 members working at SSE, blamed the cuts on the resistance on the smart meter rollout in the country by consumers.

Peter McIntosh, National Officer for Energy and Utilities said: “Demand for smart meters to be fitted in households has not reached the levels expected by the company – hence the job losses announced by the SSE retail sector.

“This situation is a result of yet another failed government policy. The smart metering programme should not have been left to the energy companies, as the 2020 deadline looms for every home in Britain to be offered a smart meter.”

“Today’s announcement by SSE Retail is disappointing, but not unexpected. Unite will oppose any attempts by the company to introduce compulsory redundancies,”