SSE announces record annual profit of £1.5bn
The energy supplier has been criticised for not passing part of the gains on to its customers
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The figures represent a 9.6% rise in profits for the year to 31 March – up from £1.4bn for the previous 12 months.
SSE has stated that the increase in profits is a result of the strong performance of its electricity transmission activities. Its retail business, on the other hand, has seen profits dip by 28.6% to £292m.
The energy supplier raised its gas and electricity prices by 8.2% in October 2013.
Customers flock to cheaper tariffs
The company has lost about 370,000 customers over the course of the year. SSE has blamed this decline on an increase in consumers switching energy supplier to find a cheaper deal and greater competition in the energy sector. A statement similar to one put out by British Gas not long ago.
Independent supplier First Utility is currently offering the cheapest gas and electricity plan, costing the average household £992 per year. The top five cheapest energy deals on offer at the moment are all from independent energy providers.
SSE hopes price freeze will stem loss of customers
In March this year, SSE pledged to freeze its energy prices until January 2016.
Speaking on the pledge, Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive at SSE, said: “We introduced our price freeze right at the end of the last financial year and it has been hugely popular.
“It remains the only such commitment available to all customers and will mean we take a hit on retail profits over the next couple of years.”
Labour: ‘Freeze energy prices until 2017’
Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow energy and climate change minister, blasted SSE for raising energy prices and raking in the benefits, at the detriment of hard-pressed households.
“SSE has already said it will freeze prices until 2016. Today’s profits show it can afford to freeze them until 2017 – and if SSE can do it, so can the other energy companies,” he said, echoing Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze prices should he win the next general election.