The state-of-the-art centre has been acquired by SSE in December, 2008 after its previous owner, Barclaycard, announced proposals to close it in June 2008. The acquisition saved around 700 jobs at the site including over 600 Barclaycard employees who accepted positions with SSE. Further recruitment will take place during the summer with a further 300 jobs expected to be created by the end 2010.

The project has been completed ahead of schedule, and technology improvements mean the site is now over 60% more energy efficient than it was before. Most of the new SSE employees already based on the site have been trained on all aspects of the energy industry, with some still currently undergoing training at the site.

The new centre has been named after Tom Johnston who was Secretary of State for Scotland when the old North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board was created by an Act of Parliament in 1943 and who subsequently served as the board’s chairman between 1946 and 1959.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scottish and Southern Energy have stood firm on their commitment to utilise the expertise of the Barclaycard workforce and to retain their skills for their new exciting operation at Hunt Hill.

“SSE’s decision to take over the centre and to employ more staff reflects extremely well on the quality of the workforce and provides a very welcome boost for the Scottish economy in tough economic times.

“SSE’s new centre perfectly highlights Scotland’s flexibility to adapt to the challenges of the current economic climate.

“Today is a great day for employees and their families as they can all now look to the future with confidence that one of Scotland’s greatest companies has cemented their commitment to their community.”

Chief executive of SSE, Ian Marchant said: “Our Cumbernauld Customer Service Centre is a welcome addition, and will complement our existing award-winning sites throughout the UK. I am especially pleased that the centre has been named after Tom Johnston who was the pioneer of renewable energy in Scotland.

“During a period of financial and economic turmoil I’m delighted to have delivered this major expansion of our customer service operations. Our plan is to continue recruiting people to work at our new Cumbernauld site during the rest of this year, providing opportunities for people in the North Lanarkshire area during these challenging times.”