SSE and npower merger 'in a shambles' after delays over price cap

Electricity pylons

This week Ofgem set the final level of the price cap at £1,137 for a household with typical consumption, which the energy regulator expects to knock 5% off the profits of large suppliers.

SSE surprised investors on Thursday by warning that it needed to revise the terms of the proposed Npower deal as "recent market developments", including the price cap, could prevent the merged supplier gaining an "appropriate" credit rating.

The merger, a major shake-up of the United Kingdom power market that would cut the dominant big six firms to five, comes after the government ramped up scrutiny of Britain's big energy suppliers, which it has accused of ripping off customers. The cap will be in place by the end of the year.

Completion of the merger is expected to be delayed beyond the first quarter of 2019.

As a result, the two companies are heading back to the negotiating table over the coming weeks, with a progress update due to be provided by mid-December.

Adjustments are being made to the merger between Npower and SSE's retail arm due to "adverse developments in the United Kingdom market", Npower's parent company Innogy SE has announced. After recovering slightly, it fell again to a low of £11.28 - a drop of 4.6 per cent - before rallying to close at £11.52, down 2.5 per cent on the day.

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SSE hopes changing its terms with npower will help mitigate the impact of tighter regulation by the United Kingdom government to tackle rising energy prices.

"We continue to believe that creating a new, independent energy supplier has the potential to deliver real benefits for customers and the market as a whole, and that remains our objective", said Alistair Phillips-Davies, the chief executive officer of SSE.

Innogy-owned npower and SSE announced in November that their British household energy supply and services businesses would join forces, reducing the Big Six energy suppliers to five.

Martin Herrmann, of Innogy SE, said the new negotiations would include "potential additional direct or indirect financial contributions by each party".

A planned asset swap between Innogy's German parent RWE and peer E.ON EONGn.DE would see Innogy's assets, likely including npower, divided between the two companies. The group specifically examined competition concerns around how the deal would impact standard variable tariff (SVT) prices.

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