E.On weighed down by sliding UK customer numbers and price caps

Energy giant E.On has reported a slump in UK customers over the past year, as profitability was also weighed down by regulatory price caps.

However, the company said total earnings before tax and interest increased to 3.2 billion euros (£2.9 billion) in 2019.

It added that it expects earnings to rise again in 2020 but said it had not factored in the current downturn in the economy amid coronavirus fears.

E.On said it has seen customers across Europe consuming less energy as a result of the pandemic.

The company said the energy sector “won’t be as hard hit by other industries” but will still feel an impact from the outbreak.

E.ON SE chief executive Johannes Teyssen said: “Industrial and commercial customers are consuming noticeably less energy.

“This will have a temporary impact on our network and sales businesses. There may be delays in our ability to deliver energy infrastructure projects.”

The company said it will not disconnect financially vulnerable customers from its network for the time being.

Mr Teyssen added: “Energy utilities have a special significance for critical infrastructure in this crisis and thus a special responsibility. We’re Europe’s biggest operator of energy networks.

“Their reliability and continuous availability is of paramount importance for healthcare, public order, and people everywhere. We will do everything in our power to ensure supply security, even in this situation.”

E.On said its core business saw operating arms post “solid earnings” last year, although customer solutions saw earnings slip by 100 million euros (£90.9 million) due to price caps and the fall in UK accounts.

The company said last year that it was folding Npower’s domestic and small business customers into its own business, in a move which saw it announce 4,500 job cuts.

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