Financial News

  • 22 May 2014, 9:44

SSE Sees Profit Up 9.6% Amid Price Hikes

Energy giant SSE has seen its full-year adjusted pre-tax profit rise by 9.6% to 1.55bn, just months after announcing price increases.

But it saw the retail division operating profit fall 28.6% to 292m in the year to March 31 as energy usage plunged during the mild winter.

SSE is Britain's second largest provider of household energy and announced it would increase prices last autumn.

It said increased output from renewable energy helped its wholesale arm's operating profit rise to 634.6m - up 24.8%.

During the last year SSE has topped several customer complaint league tables compiled by consumer groups.

SSE lost 370,000 customers during the year - more than 1,000 a day - in a drift towards smaller and independent providers.

In a swipe at the likely backlash over profits, it pointed to a report by accounting giant PwC which found that in the previous financial year the energy firm contributed 9.1bn to UK gross domestic product and supported 112,000 jobs.

Sky's Eamonn Holmes interviewed SSE Group managing director Will Morris after the results were released.

Asked by Holmes if the company would reduce prices for consumers amid reducing wholesale prices, Mr Morris said: "It has been a tough year.

"We will look constantly and if there is a sustained fall ... We know customers care most about having certainty and peace of mind."

A political and consumer backlash over energy firms raising prices saw SSE decide to freeze its energy tariffs last March, until January 2016.

The company's electricity transmission operating profit however, rose by nearly half due to a major increase in investment which its chairman Robert Smith said would continue with a net investment of around 5.5bn over four years in the network.

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