RWE npower

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RWE npower plc
(trading as npower)
Public limited company
Industry Energy
Founded 2000 (as Innogy plc)
2002 (as RWE npower)
Headquarters Swindon, England, UK
Key people
Paul Coffey, CEO
Products Gas and electricity
Number of employees
Parent RWE

RWE npower plc (trading as npower) is a UK-based electricity generator and supplier of gas and electricity to homes and businesses, formerly known as Innogy plc. As Innogy plc it was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. In 2002 it was acquired by RWE of Germany and was subsequently renamed RWE npower plc.

It was until recently considered as one of the Big Six Energy Suppliers, which dominate the gas and electricity market in the United Kingdom.


The company was established as Innogy plc from the UK operations of National Power when the overseas operations were demerged as International Power plc in 2000.[1]

Innogy then went on to purchase the regional electricity company Yorkshire Electricity in 2001.[2] It later disposed of the distribution side of Yorkshire Electricity to CE Electric UK in exchange for the supply business of Northern Electric.[3] Innogy was taken over by the German utility giant RWE in 2002 and renamed RWE npower plc with all the supply business adopting the "npower" brand.[4]

In February 2006 Npower acquired 19% of Telecom Plus, a business which now provides Npower with management services, such as billing, customer service, metering, debt collection and administration: under the deal Npower can increase its stake in Telecom Plus up to 29%.[5] In 2009 Npower acquired Superior Plumbing, a business providing services to social housing and business customers across the UK.[6]

In 2013, however, npower sold the two former Telecom Plus subsidiaries back to Utility Warehouse for £218 million.[7] As a result, Utility Warehouse became one of the largest independent energy suppliers in the UK[7] with over 500,000 customers and 770,000 gas and electricity supply points to their name.[8] The deal also sparked commentary about the possibility of npower's parent company RWE leaving the UK, or the emergence of a "Big Seven" in place of the existing Big Six Energy Suppliers.[9]

In March 2016, the company announced losses of £106 million and 2,500 global job cuts[10] along with the fact that they had lost 351,000 customers in 2015: a high level of customer complaints were cited as reasons for the issues.[11]


In 2008, Npower faced allegations over the conduct of its door-to-door salespeople.[12] An undercover investigation by a UK newspaper resulted in allegations of Npower salespeople misleading potential customers, with suggestions that salespeople were 'routinely lying' and asking potential customers to 'sign a form without revealing it was a contract'.[13] Npower was eventually fined £1.8 million by the UK energy regulator Ofgem.[14] Npower have also been criticised for their customer service, having been rated the lowest of all energy suppliers in the Which? Switch 2010 customer satisfaction survey.[15]

In 2010, Npower acquired SPI Group to add to its energy services business Npower Hometeam. SPI provides services to the social housing market and its commercial arm serves public buildings, including schools.[16]

In 2013, Labour Party MPs and campaign group 38 Degrees accused Npower of avoiding tax. Npower defended itself by stating that tax paid had been lower than expected due to higher than expected capital investment in the UK, leading to capital allowances. A Bloomberg report for Greenpeace confirmed that RWE npower was the biggest investor in new energy infrastructure in the UK recently.[17] However, groups such as 38 Degrees called for customers to boycott or switch over to other providers.[18][19][20]

In June 2014, Npower's call centre in Fenton closed, resulting in a loss of 480 jobs following the announcement of the closure the previous December.[21]

In December 2015, the company was ordered to pay a £26m settlement by the energy regulator, Ofgem, for "failing to treat customers fairly" - the second such fine it has had imposed on it.[22]


Npower operates a number of coal, natural gas, oil-fired and renewable energy power stations across the UK, with coal and gas accounting for 81% of their output as of 2005.[23]

Npower supplies gas and electricity to residential and business customers in the UK. Its energy services business provides servicing such as repairing boilers and central heating systems through its Hometeam brand.[24]

The company also owns Staythorpe Power Station in Nottinghamshire, Aberthaw Power Station in South Wales, Pembroke Power Station in West Wales, Didcot Power Station in Oxfordshire, Little Barford Power Station in Bedfordshire, Great Yarmouth Power Station in Norfolk, Fawley Power Station in Hampshire, Tilbury Power Station in Essex and Littlebrook Power Station in Kent.

Carbon intensity of electricity production

Details are as follows:[25]

Year Production (TWh) Emission (Gt CO2) kg CO2/MWh
2002 35 21.5 623
2003 38 27.5 726
2004 34 23.1 681
2005 33 22.7 680
2006 37 24.7 677
2007 34 22 651
2008 38 25 665
2009 27 16.6 622

See also


  1. Plugging into Nat Power split The Telegraph, 21 March 2001
  2. Npower firm buys up Yorkshire Electricity BBC News, 22 February 2001
  3. Innogy, Northern in retail swap Power Engineering International, September 2001
  4. RWE is set to buy Innogy New York Times, 18 March 2002
  5. Big gas losses force Telecom Plus to sell Digital Look, 16 February 2006
  6. SPI Group is bought by npower Heating & Ventilation, 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 Chazan, Guy (20 November 2013). "Telecom Plus deal to challenge big six UK energy suppliers". Financial Times. Retrieved 7 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Macalister, Terry; Jennifer Rankin (20 November 2013). "RWE npower supply sale raises fears over UK withdrawal". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Gosden, Emily (20 November 2013). "Energy challenger Telecom Plus leaps to Big Six's defence". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  11. "Npower job losses 'devastating blow'". BBC. 8 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. npower suspends staff over claims BBC, 6 April 2008
  13. Exposed: energy giant cheats its customers The Times, 6 April 2008
  14. npower fined over doorstep sales BBC, 22 December 2008
  15. Customer Satisfaction Survey Results Which
  16. npower Acquires SPI Group Build, 4 February 2009[not in citation given]
  17. npower admits not paying taxes for three years
  18. The big tax turn off 38 Degrees
  19. RWE npower
  20. Bloomberg report for Greenpeace
  21. "550 job losses at npower are 'grave mistake' say Unison". HR Grapevine. Retrieved 29 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Npower fined record £26m over customer service failures". The Telegraph. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. RWE Gestaltungselement "Quadrate" in Corporate Broschueren
  24. "Retail – supplying the UK at home and work". Retrieved 30 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Climate Change and Electricity

External links