ScotPower reveals loss of 200,000 customers

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The Independent Online

Scottish Power highlighted the fierce battle taking place in the domestic energy market by disclosing yesterday that it has lost a net 200,000 gas and electricity accounts - 5 per cent of its UK customer base - in the last six months.

Scottish Power highlighted the fierce battle taking place in the domestic energy market by disclosing yesterday that it has lost a net 200,000 gas and electricity accounts - 5 per cent of its UK customer base - in the last six months.

The multi-utility blamed a £150m marketing blitz by Centrica, the British Gas to AA road services group, which had enabled its rival to pick up around 160,000 ScottishPower customers since March.

ScottishPower also admitted that it was having difficulties with its joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland to cross-sell utility services and banking products because of technology hitches. The two companies have only launched one product so far aimed at small and medium-sized businesses but a product, aimed at the domestic market is about to be unveiled.

Pre-tax profits fell 42 per cent to £107m in the six months to the end of September after heavy goodwill amortisation and interest charges and a £127m hit from price curbs in ScottishPower's UK electricity and water businesses. But at the operating level profits were up £117m to £445m.

Ian Russell, who takes over from Ian Robinson as chief executive next April, said the cost-saving plan at PacifiCorp is ahead of plan with 1,100 out of 1,600 job cuts achieved or identified and $70m of operational efficiencies achieved against a three-year target of $300m.

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