DOZENS of workers preparing for Christmas at an energy giant’s Swindon site now face an uncertain future.

Up to 4,500 jobs could face the axe after nPower announced that it will close some of its UK sites in a money-making move.

But it is not yet known if any of the 180 workers at its Windmill Hill Business Park headquarters will be affected.

The Adver asked Andrew Bridgeman from nPower’s owners E.ON if the proposed restructure means that jobs could be lost at the Swindon site.

He replied: “It does and it doesn’t. The proposals that have been outlined are for the entire business so we are looking at all our sites across the UK.

“Does this mean that Swindon will close? I can’t say that for sure.

“This is all about consulting on our proposals and once this consultation process is finished, we will make a final decision and know which sites will close.”

E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen explained the reasoning for the restructure.

Mr Teyssen said: “The UK market is currently particularly challenging. We’ve emphasised repeatedly that we’ll take all necessary action to return our business there to consistent profitability.

“For this purpose, we’ve put together proposals and already begun discussing them with British unions.”

According to the BBC, profit for the first nine months of E.ON’s financial year fell 27 per cent to €2.3bn (£2bn), so the German company will merge computer systems to save money.

The plan is set to cost nPower £500m. It would see small businesses and consumers served by the same computer systems and customer service teams, though large industrial customers would still be served separately.

Union bosses expressed grave concerns about the plans.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is a cruel blow for nPower employees.

“They’ve been worried about their jobs for months. Now their worst fears have been realised, less than a month before Christmas.

“The UK energy market is in real danger of collapse. If nothing is done, there could soon be other casualties.”

E.ON said it was stepping up its “ambitious cost-cutting efforts” without losing sight of its customers, adding: “This is based on leaner, increasingly digital processes that also improve the customer experience.”

An E.ON spokesman added: “It is only right and fair that colleagues are informed first of any possible changes and we will be making no further comment at this time.”

Unions highlighted centres in Worcester, Houghton le Spring near Sunderland, and Hull as being at highest risk of closure.

There are around 2,500 jobs at Houghton le Spring, and more than 600 at each of the Hull and Worcester offices.

The company's other sites are in Leeds, Birmingham, Solihull and Oldbury.

A GMB spokesman said: “Clearly this announcement will be a body blow to nPower workers across the UK.

“The government has to urgently wake up to the impact that the price cap is having on good and reasonably well-paid jobs in UK energy companies.

“Energy firm nPower is a poorly managed company with significant losses in the UK.

"But it’s always the workers that face the brunt of poor management coupled with regulation that sends work overseas whilst sacking energy workers in the UK.”