SSE reveals £115m loss as pandemic hits energy demand

Energy giant SSE has revealed a £115 million hit from the pandemic in its first half as profits dropped 26%.

The renewable power generator and network operator said the estimated impact is slightly lower than expected but puts the group on course for a full-year earnings blow from Covid-19 in the middle of the £150 million to £250 million range previously announced.

SSE reported underlying pre-tax profits of £193.9 million for the six months to September 30, down from £263.4 million a year earlier.

Underlying earnings were 15% lower at £418.3 million.

Energy firms have taken a knock from the pandemic as lockdowns and restrictions to control the virus have impacted demand and new supply connections.

Its distribution business saw earnings drop 27% to £109.6 million in the first half.

But SSE is forging ahead with £7.5 billion spending plans, which will see it invest in renewables and electricity networks.

It sold its household energy supply and services arm to OVO Energy at the beginning of the year in a deal worth £500 million.

Richard Gillingwater, the outgoing chairman of SSE, said: “Challenges lie ahead – not least in navigating another wave of the pandemic, the potential operational impact of the weather in the second half and the lingering uncertainties around Brexit – but these are far outweighed by the wealth of significant opportunities we have to create value in the transition to net zero emissions.”