SSE profits jump 40% despite losing 500,000 customers

Damian Clarkson
SSE repays £100,000 over overcharging
SSE repays £100,000 over overcharging



Profits at energy giant SSE have rocketed £122 million in the last year, despite losing more than 500,000 customers over the same period.

Latest results show operating profits at its retail energy supply business increased from £246 million to £368 million, while overall customer numbers dropped from 9.1 million to 8.58 million.

With wholesale energy prices having fallen by more than 15% in the last year, SSE has unsurprisingly come under increasing pressure to pass those savings on to its customers.

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"The news that profits have soared will not go down well with many SSE customers, especially given higher winter bills following the cold winter," says Ann Robinson, consumer policy director at uSwitch.com.

"With the threat of a Labour price freeze now off the table, the big six have officially run out of excuses for not making proper, double-digit reductions to customers' bills, following significant reductions in the cost of wholesale energy.

"The modest cuts by the big six so far this year have simply not gone far enough, and the fact remains that SSE was the last of the big six suppliers to implement a standard gas tariff reduction this year.

"Given falling wholesale energy prices, suppliers must do the right thing and urgently make further cuts to the price of gas and electricity for hard-pressed consumers."

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'A challenging year'

Despite the upturn in profits, SSE group managing director Will Morris described it as "another challenging year" for the business, adding that it made an average of £68 profit off customers.

"SSE is a large and diverse business which does a lot more than just supply energy to UK households. It's been a challenging year for the group with broadly flat profits and difficult decisions being made.

"I know that many of our customers will want to understand what these numbers mean for them, their bills and our service. In our Energy Supply business, where we sell energy to customers, profit numbers can be volatile and are subject to big percentage changes from one year to the next, which is why we tend to focus on the medium term average to smooth out the natural peaks and troughs.

"Following a difficult 2013/14, our profit margin across the whole of Energy Supply returned to a more typical level of 4.6%.

"For household customers, we made around £68 of profit on a typical dual fuel bill of £1158; from that profit we pay tax and interest."

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