Npower always seemed like someone else’s problem. When the German utility giant Eon agreed a complex €43bn (£38.2bn) asset swap with domestic rival RWE in March last year, it did not think it would end up owning the ailing British supplier. However, Npower was left dangling after its proposed merger with SSE’s retail arm collapsed nine months later — and Eon was forced to adopt it when the deal was finally completed in October. With losses ballooning to €167m (£142.3m) in the first nine months of the year, Eon has decided to pull the plug. The “English patient” — as Npower was dubbed in Germany for the strain it put on former parent RWE — is losing customers and the government’s energy price cap continues to bite. Ministers are believed to be contingency planning for a scenario in which one of the big suppliers goes bust. While upstarts such as Ovo and Octopus boast of their slick tech platforms and hoover up customers, they are yet to turn a profit, claiming they are investing in growth. They will be hoping they avoid the fate of Npower.
Times 1st Dec 2019 read more »