E.ON UK is a British energy company and part of the global energy firm E.ON (which is headquartered in Essen, Germany and has around 43,000 employees worldwide). It is the second largest electricity and gas supplier in the UK and one of the Big Six energy suppliers. It was founded in 1989 as Powergen, and was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has been a subsidiary of E.ON since 1 July 2002.
|Public limited company|
|Founded||1989 (as Powergen)|
|Mike Lewis, CEO|
|Products||Residential and business electricity and gas supply|
Number of employees
E.ON, was formerly a vertically integrated utility company with interests in electrical generation, electricity distribution in the Midlands region, and in the electricity and gas supply markets. It took a pioneering role in the development of large scale renewables including the construction and operation of the UK's first offshore wind farm at Blyth in Northumberland. It became one of the first in the world, and the first major UK energy company, to significantly alter its structure by spinning off its fossil generation business so it could focus on energy supply, grid development and renewables.
On 10 March 2018 it was announced E.ON would acquire Innogy in a €43bn deal with RWE.
Powergen was formed in 1989 as a Public Limited Company which was wholly owned by the UK government and acquired about 50% of the Central Electricity Generating Board generating capacity. Sir Robert Malpas was Chairman of the Group from 1989 to 1991. Sixty per cent of Powergen was sold to private investors in 1991, followed by the remaining 40% in March 1995. It expanded considerably by acquiring the regional electricity company East Midlands Electricity in 1998 and the supply business of TXU Energi in 2002. Powergen was eventually taken over itself by E.ON, an acquisition which was completed in January 2002.
It then bought the distribution network operator Midlands Electricity in 2004. This was merged with the distribution business of East Midlands Electricity and rebranded as Central Networks. The Industrial & Commercial Retail business was rebranded as E.ON UK on 5 July 2004. The creation of the Central Networks business in April 2004 included "a company of E.ON" as part of its logotype. In October 2005 it was also added to the Powergen logotype.
In June 2007, a major advertising campaign entitled "The wind of change", containing advertisements using the E.ON logo, was launched. The campaign featured the Robin Rigg offshore wind farm in the Solway Firth, currently in development. In the consumer market, this was complemented by a replacement of the mostly blue Powergen identity to the red identity of E.ON, and the launch of a new product, Go Green, using electricity from renewable sources and carbon offset gas.
In January 2008, E.ON acquired West Midlands-based CHN Group, a provider of heating services to builders, local authorities and housing associations across the region. and in August 2008 completed the purchase of the Street Lighting business lighting projects of ABB Ltd. It intended to improve its existing lighting business by purchasing the ABB business.ABB.
In 2008 and 2009 a number of protests took place at E.ON UK's power station including a Climate Camp at their Kingsnorth power station in August 2008 and at their Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in October 2009.
On 20 January 2010, E.ON UK announced the closure of its Rayleigh Customer Service Centre and the loss of 600 jobs. The company was forced to bring forward the announcement by one day after the information was leaked to a local newspaper. This has been criticised as a money-saving exercise by an organisation which has seen an increase in profits of 18% in 2009 and news that E.ON UK have made £80 million in profits so far in the financial year 2009/10. Other businesses within E.ON were also affected by these round of job losses, including its IT support and its Highways Lighting operations.
In October 2012, E.ON sold its 50% stake in Horizon Nuclear Power to Hitachi for £348 million. The other 50% stake, held by RWE npower, was also sold to Hitachi for the same amount, giving a total sale value of £696 million.
Late in 2012, E.ON UK announced the closure of the 'Ignite' business, originally tasked with bringing alternative localised-generation products to market for E.ON UK.
In 2013, E.ON Home Energy Services was sold in a management buyout.
Acquisition of npower
Just after the failed SSE-npower merger of retail assets in late 2018, it was reported that the Big Six energy suppliers would still consolidate to the Big Five, as npower would be acquired by default by E.on UK, due to the already-planned asset swap of the respective German parents innogy and E.ON.
E.ON UK's businesses consist of:
- Energy Solutions (a merger of the former Retail and Energy Services businesses)
- Business Services (an internal service provider)
- Central functions including Corporate Affairs & Finance under the banner UK Centre
- E.ON Climate and Renewables – renewables and climate protection projects
- E.ON IT UK – the company's IT service provider
E.ON operates a number of onshore and offshore wind farms, biomass power stations, Combined Heat and Power plants in the UK. It formerly ran a number of fossil plants which are now wholly owned and run by Uniper.
- ITV National Weather
Powergen/E.ON sponsored the ITV National Weather forecasts from its launch on 13 February 1989 until 31 December 2007, a period of 18 years. They were known for their memorable sponsorship sequences from a set introduced on 5 April 1993 which featured weather themes circulating around (or parts of) the Powergen logo, and from 4 November 1996, the Weathergens, a "mascot" of Powergen representing different types of weather. After several different sets of idents throughout the 2000s, Powergen eventually became E.ON in 2007 and the sponsorship was changed to accommodate the name change. The sponsorship ended on 31 December 2007 and from 4 July 2016 to 8 July 2018, ITV National Weather is formerly sponsored by rival energy company SSE on all ITV plc stations and UTV.
In 2006, E.ON UK announced that it was to be the sponsor of the FA Cup for a four-year period. During this period, the competition is formally called "The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON". Before 2006, the company had sponsored the rugby union and rugby league cup competitions under the Powergen brand. The original four-year deal was extended to a fifth year as The FA failed to secure a new sponsor. The announcement was unpopular as it was made in the same week as the confirmation of closure of the Rayleigh Call Centre.
Distribution network operators
E.ON UK is an energy supplier for homes across the country. They do not however manage the network of towers and cables that distributes electricity – these are maintained by distribution network operators (DNOs) which vary from region to region. If, for instance, there is a power outage it is necessary to contact the appropriate DNO rather than the energy supplier. See entry on distribution network operator for a full list.
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