Eon lost 500,000 customers in Britain last year with its profits also taking a bashing thanks to the energy price cap, its results revealed today.
The Big Six supplier, which is German-owned, is likely to have lost customers as a result of more households switching providers than ever before – with many moving away from the largest suppliers.
The price cap will also have had an effect as suppliers are only allowed to charge a maximum of £1,162 for standard variable tariff customers.
Despite losing customers, Eon said its total earnings before tax and interest increased to £2.9billion in 2019, and it expects earnings to increase again in 2020.
However, it admitted it hadn’t factored in the current downturn in the economy amid coronavirus fears, adding that it has seen customers across Europe consuming less energy as a result of the pandemic.
Johannes Teyssen, Eon chief executive, said: ‘Industrial and commercial customers are consuming noticeably less energy.
‘This will have a temporary impact on our network and sales businesses. There may be delays in our ability to deliver energy infrastructure projects.
He added: ‘Energy utilities have a special significance for critical infrastructure in this crisis and thus a special responsibility.
‘We will do everything in our power to ensure supply security, even in this situation.’
It said the energy sector ‘won’t be as hard hit by other industries’ but will still feel an impact from the pandemic.
During the coronavirus outbreak, Eon confirmed that it will not disconnect financially vulnerable customers from its network to ensure continued supply.
It added that its core business saw operating arms post ‘solid earnings’ last year, although customer solutions saw earnings slip by £90.9million due to price caps and the fall in UK accounts.
Victoria Arrington at Energy Helpline said: ‘The Big Six has been losing customers for some time – so Eon’s loss of 500,000 UK accounts in 2019 is no big surprise.
‘Established suppliers are facing intense battles in an ever-changing industry for customer loyalty.
‘The marketplace is becoming more and more competitive. Customers are switching at record rates – and it’s unsurprising, since there are so many bargain tariffs appearing all the time.
‘That said, Eon clearly recognises that customers crave savings, with their best tariff deal is £318 cheaper than their default tariff.
‘With so many cheap tariffs available, it’s clear that complacency can be costly.
‘Customers who switch supplier could save up to £378 a year on energy, with the average customer saving £280 annually – so it pays to shop around.
‘Eon has made some intriguing moves recently – from putting all of their customers on to renewable energy, to taking on the customer base of npower.
‘It will continue to be interesting to see what new developments they bring to the industry.’
During the coronavirus outbreak, the Government and energy suppliers have teamed up to put emergency measures in place.
This includes ensuring that prepayment and pay as you go customers who cannot leave home can speak to their provider about staying supplied, steps that should benefit over four million households.