More power firms set to close retail outlets

Last week's decision by Manweb, the Manchester-based regional electricity company, to abandon the fiercely competitive electrical retail market is part of a trend that is set to continue. Four of the electricity companies have thrown in the towel so far in a market so brutal that Thorn EMI decided to pull the plug on Rumbelows and Comet, the Kingfisher-owned chain slumped into loss. More of the regional electricity companies are expected to give up the fight this year. London Electricity was the first to raise the white flag when it limped away from the market 18 months ago with its balance sheet wounded by a £20m write-off. In January, East Midlands and Yorkshire Electricity decided to walk away from their loss-makingHomepower joint venture at a cost of £60m The accompanying table shows that there is scant reason for many of the other RECs to stay in a market where profits prove elusive. The question is, who will bite the bullet next? Most analysts suggest that Powerhouse, the three-way joint venture between Southern, Midlands and Eastern Electricity will be the next to go. The retail operation made a loss of £7.4m last year on sales of £259m. However, the company recently appointed anew chief executive, Glyn Moser, the former Radio Rentals managing director, indicating the three partners may wish to continue the war of attrition. The market's minnows such as Scottish Hydro, Northern Electric and Seeboard could also decide that the market is more trouble than it is worth. Northern Ireland Electricity, with sales of just £26.3m last year, is another candidate. Last September it warned of 400 job losses unless staff accepted a 15 per cent pay cut. Of all the RECs still in the retail market only two are making a decent return for shareholders. Scottish Power, has signalled its growth intention by buying Manweb's five out-of-town superstores for £3m last week. It also bought the Clydesdale operation from the receiver last year and now has 162 stores. Norweb is also expanding aggressively.

RECS ON THE HIGH STREET Regional Electricity Company Profits and losses Manweb £0.5m loss in year to March `95. Sold to Scottish Power for £3m. £16m provision.

Scottish Power £7.4m profit on £114m sales. Expanding.

Homepower (East Mids, Yorkshire) £6.8m loss in 6 months to Sept'94. Sold to Powerstore. £60m provision.

London Electricity Sold to Powerstore in `93 after substantial losses and £20m write- off.

Powerhouse Lost £7.4m last yr. Tipped as sale candidate (Southern, Eastern, Midlands)

Sweb Lost £0.5m on £35.5m sales in 6 months to Sept'94

Seeboard £1.8m profit on £54.3m sales `93-94

Norweb £7.1m profit on £187m sales `93-94. Expanding superstores aggressively.

Northern Electric £2.7m profit on £43.4m sales `93-94

Scottish Hydro Sales £28.8m. Profits "satisfactory"

Northern Ireland £0.5m profit on £26.3m sales `93-94.

Suggested Topics
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style