Energy-related products: call for evidence

Detail of outcome

The response to this call for evidence contributed to building the UK evidence base for energy-related products and will inform future policies which can contribute to greater carbon, energy, resource, and bills savings.

As announced in the Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, the government will launch a policy framework for energy-related products later in 2021 where more detail will be set out on future policy and ambition.

Feedback received

Energy-related products: summary of responses to the call for evidence

Detail of feedback received

We received 74 responses to this call for evidence, from:

  • manufacturers
  • trade associations
  • members of the public
  • charities
  • NGOs
  • energy companies
  • water suppliers
  • consultancies
  • consumer groups

We have provided a summary of the responses to this call for evidence.

Original consultation

Summary

We’re seeking evidence to support our future UK products policy and our aim to achieve greater carbon savings.

This consultation ran from
 to 

Consultation description

Energy-related products are goods such as washing machines, lighting and televisions, which use energy or affect energy consumption when in use or in standby mode.

This call for evidence explores how effective policies for energy-related products in homes and businesses can support the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050. In particular, we are seeking evidence on:

  • how to improve the efficacy of ecodesign and energy labelling policy in the UK to realise greater energy and carbon savings as well as other environmental benefits of more resource efficient products
  • whether better minimum energy performance standards and resource efficiency requirements could be set for certain products
  • whether there are any other policy measures that could help to increase the uptake of energy and resource efficient products

Please do not send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.

Read our consultation privacy notice.

Documents

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Decarbonising heat in homes inquiry hears from energy companies

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee will question energy companies, including from Octopus Energy, Vaillant, Cadent Gas and E-ON, with experience of installing or trialling low carbon heating technologies in homes. This evidence session is part of the committee’s decarbonising heating in homes inquiry.

Witnesses

Tuesday 16 March

At 10.30am

  • Steve Keeton, Director of External Affairs, Vaillant Group UK Ltd
  • Greg Jackson, CEO and Founder, Octopus Energy
  • Michael Lewis, CEO, E-ON
  • Angie Needle, Director of Strategy, Cadent Gas

At 11.30am

  • David Renard, Chair, Local Government Associations’ Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board
  • Patrick Chauvin, Executive Director – Assets, Stonewater
  • George Day, Head of Markets, Policy and Regulation, Energy Systems Catapult
  • Randolph Brazier, Director of Innovation and Electricity Systems, Energy Networks Association

Purpose of the session

The evidence hearing is likely to explore issues around the barriers to delivering low carbon heating solutions to homes and how these can be best overcome.

They will also offer a perspective of the Government’s policies to encourage uptake of energy efficiency and low carbon heating in homes, particularly on the Green Homes Grant.

The Committee will also question organisations, including the Local Government Association, Stonewater (a housing association), the Energy Systems Catapult and the Energy Networks Association.

The panel will consider the suitability, and viability, of alternate heating technologies and their delivery in a variety of local-level situations, for example in different geographic areas, home ownership and different building types.

The session is also likely to explore questions around responsibilities for the coordination and delivery of low carbon heating on a local level.

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COP26 – Government should spell out how it will measure success at the UN Climate Change conference

The Government’s ambitions for the COP26 climate summit need to be clearer, says the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee in an interim report on Net Zero and COP26 published today.

The Committee notes that no details have yet been provided by Government on how success will be measured against each of its headline ambitions. The report recommends the Government set out a clear list of COP26 ambitions, with a set of accompanying measures of success.

Chair’s comments

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“COP26 this November must conclude with countries around the world setting out their road maps to delivering on the Paris Agreement targets set five years ago. The British Government must put sufficient resource behind these global negotiations to ensure that agreements are reached at COP26 which both commit and help each country to make the required changes.

“We have concluded that the current ‘themes’-based approach to COP26 is too broad, without clear measures for success, and that more focus needs to be given to the overriding necessity to agree deliverable policies that keep global temperature rises to as close to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels as possible.”

The report notes that the success of COP26 will be dependent on effective diplomacy but that it remains unclear whether the COP26 Unit has been assigned a dedicated diplomatic team or the extent to which the diplomatic network is engaged in helping to achieve summit objectives.

The Committee’s interim report also makes recommendations, in the wake of Covid-19 and issues around differing vaccination roll-outs, to help ensure all countries, including those from developing countries, are able to fully participate at COP26 in November.

The report emphasises the need for the Government to show global leadership by taking decisive action on the UK’s domestic ambitions and recommends the Government accept in full the Climate Change Committee (CCC) sixth carbon budget advice (covering the period 2033–2037) and bring in the necessary secondary legislation as early as possible.

The BEIS Committee’s report follows up on key commitments made in the Committee’s evidence sessions (including with Alok Sharma, COP President, and Claire O’Neill, former COP President) and, in particular the COP26 President’s plans to engage with Parliament over the next nine months. The interim report also follows up on ongoing discussions around the UK delegation to COP26, covid-19 contingency measures and digital access to the summit, and on the UK Government’s intentions in relation to the sixth carbon budget.

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‘A false start’: Green groups express disappointment in Boris Johnson’s ‘New Deal’ recovery package

Key members of the UK’s green economy have been offering their thoughts on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 recovery package, the fundamentals of which have now been unveiled. The general feeling is one of dismay, following months of campaigning.

In a speech delivered in the West Midlands this morning, Johnson unveiled an initial £5bn for infrastructure and skills projects across the UK. He vowed to “build, build, build” and bring about a “New Deal” for the nation, in which the rebound from the economic crisis borne of the Covid-19 pandemic addresses key social issues.

But the New Deal is far from “Green”, key NGOs, think-tanks, trade bodies and thought leaders are warning.

Johnson has received a string of policy briefings and open letters in recent weeks, urging him to align the recovery package with the UK’s net-zero target and to prioritise funding for sectors spurring the low-carbon transition or working to protect nature. He and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have repeatedly assured the authors of such documents, as well as MPs, journalists and the general public, that policies to boost the manufacture of low-carbon goods and to decarbonise the nation’s most-emitting sectors would form a “vital” part of the Government’s recovery strategy.

Now, key figures are accusing Johnson and Sunak of overstating their “green” commitments and calling for better environmental provisions to be unveiled by the Treasury next month.

Here, edie rounds up the key concerns which the package has raised across the UK’s green economy.

Poor provisions for retrofitting

Buildings account for around 40% of global emissions and one-third of energy use in the UK and, while improved standards for new housing and business properties are forthcoming, the UK Government has repeatedly been accused of failing to support the decarbonisation of existing stock.

The Department for Education has this week outlined a £1bn package to retrofit schools, but Students Organising for Sustainability claims that £23bn would be necessary to ensure that all schools are net-zero by 2030.

More broadly, the Conservative Party had pledged £9.2bn for retrofitting in its 2019 general election manifesto – a figure which groups including the Sustainable Energy Association and Association for Distributed Energy (ADE) were keen to see come to fruition in the recovery package.

“Investing in a national buildings renovation programme will support local jobs and SMEs right now and will be an important part of the UK’s green economic recovery,” the ADE’s head of external affairs Lucy Symons-Jones said. “The £9.2bn promised in the Conservative Party manifesto will support the engineers and installers who are ready to deliver an immediate national building retrofit programme. Without this funding, these local skilled workers face redundancy.”

The EEIG has also expressed disappointment in the lack of energy efficiency provisions in Johnson’s speech. The body’s previous research claimed that 40,000 jobs could be created in the UK within 24 months, through an ambitious retrofitting programme, with a further 110,000 roles created through to 2030.

“Energy efficiency [is] perhaps the most urgent of all infrastructure priorities,” UKGBC chief executive Julie Hirogoyen added. “[It[ can create jobs right around the country, improve health and reduce costs to NHS, and increase consumer spending power by lowering energy bills.” 

A lack of movement on heat and flexible energy

11 months ago, Citizens Advice warned that the Government’s failure to implement a “credible” framework for the decarbonisation of heat for commercial and domestic use could undermine public confidence in the net-zero transition.

BEIS has since faced repeated calls to accelerate the development of a national heat strategy, particularly since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

While the Department announced a £25m pot for heat pumps this week, such a strategy still seems not to be forthcoming. Moreover, Johnson’s speech made no specific reference to heat.

Businesses including Flexitricity, SE2 and Lux Nova have warned that the UK is missing an opportunity here, not only to decarbonise, but to improve wellbeing and to reduce NHS costs.

Poor clarity on skills

Up to 2.2 million Brits could face unemployment unless the UK’s Covid-19 recovery package contains measures to reskill them for “green-collar” roles, Mayors and council leaders representing 25 million residents warned yesterday (29 June).

Calls for increased skills measures have also been made by the likes of National Grid, Oxford University academics and The Energy Transitions Commission – a body representing 40 global organisations including major employers like Heathrow Airport, BP and HSBC.

The UK Government was reportedly set to launch a dedicated fund for reskilling Brits to work in the renewable energy, cleantech and built environment sectors, coupled with additional investment in these sectors to assist with their expansion. The Conservative Party is notably targeting two million “green-collar” jobs in the UK by 2030.

While Johnson did make passing reference to skills in his speech, any green strings were notably absent.

“Jobs, skills and infrastructure are core to the UK’s green recovery,” the Energy Networks Association’s chief executive David Smith said. “Building ahead of need so that electric vehicles can be rolled out at pace, gas can be greened and industry can be decarbonised, creating the green collar jobs that will keep the UK at the front of the fight against climate change.”

“The Prime Minister’s speech rightly identifies the importance of ‘building back greener’ but this has to be rapidly backed up by support for shovel-ready projects and policy decisions that are aligned with the UK’s climate, environmental and clean growth goals,” Aldersgate Group director Nick Molho added. “Such an approach is not just needed to meet the UK’s environmental ambitions, but it is also essential to ensure that the UK’s recovery plan can address key public interest concerns around unemployment, regional inequality and resilience.”

Continued investment in high-carbon sectors

“A real Green New Deal wouldn’t just mean more spending on infrastructure,” campaign group Green New Deal UK tweeted during Johnson’s speech in Dudley. “It would mean a rewiring of the British economy to be climate-resilient, it would mean a pay rise for key workers – and it would mean spending enough money to meet the challenges in front of us.”

The tweet is alluding to the fact that the package contains a £100m pot for road building programmes, in addition to the £27bn promised in the 2020 Budget. Moreover, “green strings” relating to the package’s funding, either in full or in part, are yet to be confirmed.

In contrast, the  European Union has ringfenced 25% of its €750bn fund to help the bloc recover from the coronavirus crisis to mitigating the climate crisis.

“Johnson’s plan to ‘build, build, build’ includes a massive road-building programme and a deeply alarming deregulation of the housing market,” Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie said.  “Both of these could cause enormous environmental damage, as well as increasing emissions.”

“Boris Johnson’s speech should have fired the starting gun on a healthier, more resilient future for the UK,” Green Alliance’s executive director Shaun Spiers said.

“Unfortunately, the PM seems to have got off to false start. This statement today is about putting shovels in the ground, but there is no point in that in the long term if it digs the UK deeper into trouble…Let’s hope the Chancellor is listening and ups the government’s game next week – putting people, climate and nature front and centre of the government’s recovery strategy.”

“To avoid catastrophe, we need a low-carbon nature-powered recovery, not one weighed down by tarmac and concrete,” WWF UK’s chief executive Tanya Steele added. “This is another missed opportunity – and we don’t have many chances left.”

Nature hanging in the balance 

On the “nature-powered” aspect, it is worth noting that a recommitment to reforest parts of the country by planting more than 75,000 acres of trees every year by 2025 has been made. A £40m fund to boost local conservation projects has also been announced, and is expected to create around 3,000 jobs while safeguarding 2,000 existing jobs.

Nonetheless, Johnson also said he would be willing to remove wildlife that presents an obstacle to building work on key infrastructure projects. 

“An economic recovery which puts investment in nature first would reap big dividends in tackling climate crisis – helping to absorb up to a third of UK emissions – as well as tackling health inequalities, and providing more jobs, skills and opportunities to support the next generation,” the Wildlife Trusts’ chief executive Craig Bennett said. 

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Millions of households set for energy bill break due to coronavirus crisis

But commuters who usually travel to work using rail season tickets could find themselves out of pocket because of ‘completely unfair’ rules

Millions of households could be given a break from energy bills as a growing number of companies have sent employees home amid the coronavirus crisis, The Telegraph can reveal.

EDF Energy, which has five million customers and is one of the biggest utility firms in the country, said it would consider offering delayed payments to anyone who is affected by the outbreak.

The news comes after the Government warned that as many as a fifth of employees could be off work at the same time, disrupting regular travel plans and increasing power use.

Consumer experts hit out at rail firms for only offering partial refunds to those who are told to work from home as offices across the country sit empty.

High street banks have already offered mortgage repayment holidays to affected customers as the financial toll of the crisis worsens.

The Telegraph understands that energy bosses are in regular communication with the Government and regulators to determine how best to support customers who may run into financial difficulty.

A spokesman for EDF said: “We recognise that over the coming weeks Covid-19 may have an impact on our customers, and we are prepared to offer these customers additional support and flexibility.

“Each case would be looked at on an individual basis, but additional support we could offer may include repayments made over a longer period of time, delay payment for a short period or offer alternative payment arrangements.”

Government advice is that anyone with persistent coronavirus symptoms should remain isolated for seven days.

Those who usually travel to work using a rail season ticket could find themselves out of pocket because of rules blasted as “completely unfair” by a consumer group.

Martyn James, from consumer complaints service Resolver, said the rules could mean many commuters lose out simply for following their company’s advice.

Customers can ask for money back, but they will not receive the full unused value of their and will have to pay an administration fee.

Those who have used the majority of their ticket would not be entitled to a refund.

Mr James said the period used to calculate the refund is arbitrary and may not reflect price variations over the year.

A weekly ticket from Brighton to London costs around £105 while a day return ticket can cost £44.

That means someone returning their ticket after four days of use would receive nothing back.

Customers are also charged an administration fee of up to £10.

Commuters can temporarily “suspend” their season ticket if they are ill. They will be refunded for the time for which they were unable to use it.

To receive their money back customers must supply a medical certificate.

Transport for London, which runs the London Underground, said it is waiving its £5 administration fee for those who need to self-isolate.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, a trade body, said rail firms understand these are “exceptional times” and that travellers should check their entitlement with National Rail Enquiries.

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Millions more homes to be powered by renewables

Details of the next round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, which opens in 2021, have been set out today, Monday 2 March.

This latest round will be open to renewable technologies including onshore wind and solar, with proposals to include floating offshore wind. The scheme will also be changed to facilitate the deployment of energy storage.

Local communities will have a more effective voice on developments that impact them, through proposals for tough new guidance on community engagement for developers of onshore wind across Great Britain, also announced today. They will have a definitive say on whether projects are allowed to proceed. It will remain the case that no English onshore wind project can proceed without the consent of the local community.

The Committee on Climate Change have said that we need to quadruple renewable energy generation in the UK to reach net zero by 2050, and today’s announcement is a step in that direction.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy Alok Sharma said:

Ending our contribution to climate change means making the UK a world leader in renewable energy.

We are determined to do that in a way that works for everyone, listening to local communities and giving them an effective voice in decisions that affect them.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said:

The government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.

Today’s consultation outlines proposals to ensure the Contracts for Difference scheme can support the increased ambition required, including:

  • making the UK a world-leader in new technologies such as floating offshore wind, which would allow wind farms to be built further away from the shore and increase clean energy capacity
  • supporting our renewables supply chain to enhance productivity and increase competitiveness, boosting the UK’s world-class clean energy industry
  • improving the scheme to better support energy storage, so projects can provide power when the wind stops blowing or the sun is not shining

This is part of the Year of Climate Action, a defining year for our country and our planet, in the run up to the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

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Electricity networks

Background to the report

Electricity networks take electricity from the power plants where it is generated, to homes and businesses where it is used. Each transmission or distribution network company (network company) serves a different region. To prevent network companies from overcharging their customers, and to ensure they provide a good service, their earnings are regulated by Ofgem, a non-ministerial government department sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Ofgem does this through price controls, which are multi-year regulatory settlements that provide network companies with allowances for their costs, and targets for performance. BEIS has overall responsibility for energy policy and ensuring the UK meets legislated targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Network companies have a crucial role to play to support carbon emissions reductions in the energy sector and the wider economy. By 2050, the overall amount of electricity flowing through electricity networks may need to double, to displace carbon-emitting fuels for transport and heating buildings. Growth in the overall demand for electricity and displacement of carbon-emitting fuels by renewables means that new investment is needed to upgrade electricity networks. While upgrading networks has traditionally meant reinforcing them with new cabling and substations, new technology such as battery storage may offer lower-cost methods of upgrading them. Using this technology will require significant changes to the way network companies operate.

Content and scope of the report

This report examines how effectively Ofgem is using RIIO (an acronym for ‘Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs’) electricity transmission and distribution network price controls to protect the interests of consumers and achieve the government’s climate change goals. It also comments on the strategic challenges BEIS and Ofgem will face in ensuring electricity networks enable the achievement of government’s climate change goals.

Conclusion on value for money

Under Ofgem’s current regulatory framework, electricity network companies have provided a good service, but it has cost consumers more than it should have. It is now clear that targets were set too low, budgets too high, and the impact of these decisions was compounded by Ofgem extending the regulatory period from five years to eight. In some cases, Ofgem did not use the best information available to it at the time: on financing costs, for example, where better use of evidence could have saved consumers at least £800 million. To Ofgem’s credit, it has sought to learn lessons from these experiences and design the next regulatory period differently.

Electricity networks now have a crucial role to play in helping the UK reach net zero emissions by enabling the system needed for low-carbon heat and transport. An intelligent approach to this transition could spare consumers from significant extra costs: this is illustrated by recent research which estimated that using flexible technology could help to reduce the cumulative electricity system costs, including increasing electricity system capacity, by between £17 billion and £40 billion by 2050. To maximise electricity networks’ value for money in future, Ofgem must ensure it sets stretching targets for network companies in the next regulatory period, while building enough flexibility into the price controls to respond to unexpected developments. The government must help to clarify future network requirements by bringing forward further policies for decarbonising heat and transport. And BEIS will need to ensure that the energy market is governed in a way that provides enough strategic coordination of its many actors.

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Over £50 million for clean energy projects across Africa

The UK has invested millions in clean technology across Africa, to support the continent’s growing energy needs.

  • over £50 million invested in innovative, clean technology as the UK works with African countries to develop sustainable energy sources, providing thousands of people with clean energy
  • UK will share expertise in green finance and science and innovation to develop solar farms and battery storage projects
  • African energy demand is set to rise 60% by 2040 – clean energy will be central in powering Africa’s growing economies and increasing access to electricity

Green energy supply in Africa is set for a major boost after the UK government announced winners of an investment package for the continent’s clean energy infrastructure at the African Investment Summit today.

Solar farms in Kenya, geothermal power stations in Ethiopia and clean energy storage across sub-Saharan Africa will receive funding and see leading UK scientists and financial experts working with their African counterparts to realise the continent’s huge potential for renewable energy.

With African energy demand set to rise by 60% by 2040, UK experts will help deliver green solutions for the continent’s growing energy needs, bringing clean energy to thousands of people and creating jobs and increased prosperity.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

Our world-leading scientists and financial experts will work hand in hand with African nations to support their quest for energy security, powering new industries and jobs across the continent with a diverse mix of energy sources while promoting economic growth.

Speaking at the summit, Ms Leadsom emphasised the opportunity for many African countries to leapfrog coal power to cleaner forms of energy but stressed that more needed to be done to unlock investment.

A world-leader in reducing carbon emissions at home, today’s investment in global clean energy comes after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced the £1 billion ‘Ayrton Fund’ for British scientists last Autumn to help developing nations reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce their carbon emissions.

As part of the initiatives announced today, the UK will support African countries with the technical skills and expertise they need in order to attract investment in renewable projects, getting innovative projects like wind and solar farms up and running. Close collaboration with African countries will be key as the UK gears up to host the UN climate talks (COP26) later this year.

UK funded projects in Africa include winners of the Energy Catalyst Competition, which has seen solar plants, energy storage batteries and hydro-power built in countries such as Botswana and Kenya; a £10 million programme which matches UK based green finance experts with project developers from developing countries to facilitate investment in clean energy projects; and the Nigeria 2050 calculator, a modelling tool designed by UK scientists to support the Nigerian government’s sustainable development planning.

Kenya is also set to benefit from a £30 million government investment in affordable energy-efficient housing which will see the construction of 10,000 low-carbon homes for rent and sale. This will support the creation of new jobs in Kenya’s green construction industry and help tackle climate change.

Over 50% of the UK’s energy production came from renewable sources last year, and with London’s expertise as the global hub for green finance, the UK is best placed to be Africa’s leading partner and help it harness its wealth of renewable sources as it moves away from coal power.

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Electric shock: Could Brexit scar Britain’s energy landscape?

Britain’s exit from the EU, which will finally happen on Friday (31 January), has sparked fears of disruption to its electricity market, from higher bills to supply issues and stalled de-carbonisation efforts.

Britain depends on the European Union for much of its electricity supply.

Its own generation fell in 2018 by 1.6%, according to the latest available statistics.

This reduction stems from the gradual shutdown of coal-fired power plants, which is yet to be fully compensated by a rise in wind power.

Imports of electricity and gas have increased in response, predominantly from France, the Netherlands and Ireland, which now account for almost 40% of Britain’s energy consumption.

Britain’s imminent departure from the 28-member EU and its single electricity market therefore represents a risk for an already fragile network, which suffered a big blackout in August.

It will continue to benefit from existing arrangements during a post-Brexit transition phase, while it seeks a new agreement on everything from energy to security cooperation with Brussels.

But it is not clear if these talks will entirely resolve the issue.

British industry regulator Ofgem has said “alternative trading arrangements will need to be developed”, without giving further details.

It insists that whatever deal is struck, it does not “expect Brexit to interrupt the flows of electricity and gas”.

But at times of peak demand, Britain may find itself at the back of the line for electricity.

“EU countries could get preference,” Weijie Mak, of research company Aurora, told AFP.

As with other areas such as finance, agreeing so-called equivalence on things like CO2 emission rules – so countries who produce cleaner and more expensive electricity are not disadvantaged – will be key.

Price rise?

Uncertainty over equivalence and the possible return of tariffs or quotas if trade negotiations falter has left some sceptical that nothing will change post-Brexit.

“The electricity trade will become more expensive,” said Joseph Dutton, policy advisor at climate change think tank E3G. “It could mean higher bills for consumers.”

Trading in electricity across the Channel is currently based on an auction system, which could be upset by Britain’s EU departure.

Eurelectric, the association representing the industry at the European level, sees it as a “lose-lose situation” because of “less efficient gas and power trading”.

The hazy picture has seen the French government put on hold several interconnector projects aimed at better linking the electric power grids of Britain and the continent.

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OVO completes acquisition of SSE Energy Services

Today (15 January), OVO Energy has completed its acquisition of supplier SSE’s GB household energy business.

The acquisition was first announced in September, and approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in December.

The move will see OVO become the second largest supplier in the UK, with five million customers. It said that gaining SSE’s smart technology and exceptional talent in the form of its 8000 staff will help to accelerate OVO’s strategy to bring clean affordable energy to more households.

OVO bought SSE Energy Services for £500 million, which comprises of £400 million in cash and £100 million loan notes. These loan notes will be issued by a member of the OVO group, have an annual interest rate of 13.25% payable in kind and will be due in 2029 if they have not been repaid earlier.

The transaction will be subject to a deduction of £59m reflecting debt-like items, SSE announced, including SSE Energy Services’ accruals in respect of the Capacity Market Mechanism.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and founder of OVO said that this marks the end of one chapter for OVO but “more importantly, the beginning of the next one together with SSE Energy Services”.

“We have an integration plan that leaders from both companies have collaborated on since September. There is a lot of work to do to bring the two businesses together, but we have a really strong combination of great talent, technology and customer centricity that will enable us to succeed.

“SSE’s history of excellence at scale combined with OVO’s innovative technology and our Plan Zero commitments mean that together, as one team, we can bring millions more people with us on our journey towards zero carbon living.”

OVO was formed in 2009, and has since grown to become the largest independent supplier in the UK. It has committed to eliminating its customer’s household emissions and fit five million homes with flexible, clean energy technologies as part of a wide-ranging carbon-cutting initiative dubbed ‘Plan Zero’ it announced in 2019.

It has continued to grow over the last year, investing in clean energy marketplace Renewable Exchange and energy technology start-up firm Electron. It also announced a partnership with automotive giant Mitsubishi motors last December.

OVO also claims that it installed the world’s first domestic vehicle-to-grid charger in a customer’s home.

The CMA launched an investigation into the company’s acquisition of SSE Energy Services in October, to ensure that it would not lessen competition in the UK.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE said: “We are very pleased to have completed this transaction, which we firmly believe is the best outcome for the business, its customers and its employees.

“The sale is in line with our clear strategy, centred on developing, operating and owning renewable energy and electricity network assets, along with growing businesses complementary to this core.

“SSE enters the new decade as a more focused group, even better positioned to lead the low carbon transformation required to achieve the UK’s vital net zero commitment in the years to come.”

In a blog post today, Philips-Davies said that SSE’s strategic focus had shifted to developing, building and maintaining low carbon assets.

He continued: “For SSE, our core purpose in the years ahead is clear. We are providing the energy needed today while building a better world of energy for tomorrow.”

The company has struggled in recent years, with a loss of profit of £284.6m in 2018. It has started to bounce back, with its interim results statement in November reporting a 14% increase to adjusted operating profit.