Direct Energy to Lay Off 108 Employees in Columbia, Maryland
One of North America’s largest electricity and natural gas retailers, Direct Energy, has announced that the company will be scaling back its residential solar installation business. As a result, 108 employees working in its solar energy arm, Direct Energy Solar, will be laid off in Columbia, Maryland. In total, the company will be letting go about 330 employees.
Direct Energy, which is a subsidiary of Centrica PLC, employs 6,200 employees in the United States. The Houston-based company has operations in several states, primarily Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Maryland (as well as in Canada).
The company has filed the required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) document with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which states that the layoffs will be taking place at the company’s headquarters in Columbia by September.
The layoffs follow the change in the company’s strategy to shift its focus away from residential solar installations. The affected employees primarily include those involved in installing solar energy panels on residential properties. The company will, however, continue to develop residential solar storage solutions and carry on providing maintenance to existing residential customers. Meanwhile, the company will turn its focus towards expanding its commercial solar business.
Following the layoffs, company officials said in a statement, “These changes will enable us to concentrate on scaling our capabilities in community solar, storage, operations and maintenance to meet the changing needs of our customers.”
Direct Energy, like many other energy companies, has struggled to break even in its residential solar business. The company has found residential consumer acquisition costs to be higher when competing with local solar installers. This forced the company to review its strategy and turn its focus toward commercial installations where acquisition costs were relatively less.
The statement sent out by Direct Energy further said, “We will continue to give our commercial and industrial customers more choices and solutions to manage their energy with a range of service capabilities, including solar design and installation, operations and maintenance, and distributed energy resource options.”
“Direct Energy to lay off 108 Maryland employees,” The Baltimore Sun, July 25, 2017.
“Retailer Direct Energy Pulls Out of the Residential Solar Installation Business,” Greentech Media, July 19, 2017.
“Our Footprint and History,” Direct Energy, last accessed July 25, 2017.