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SSE annual profits jump 9.6% following price hikes

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21/05/2014
Energy giant SSE has posted annual profits of £1.55bn, a 9.6 per cent rise compared with a year earlier.

However, the firm said a competitive market and mild winter saw operating profits in its retail arm fall by 28.6 per cent to £292m.

Britain’s ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers – British Gas, npower, EDF, E.ON, Scottish Power and SSE – have faced heavy criticism in recent months for increasing tariffs.

SSE was the first of the UK’s largest suppliers to raise prices back in November. However, in March the group said it was freezing prices until at least January 2016.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive of 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.”

SSE revealed it lost 370,000 customer accounts over the year but said the decline was before its price freeze came into effect.

Mark Todd, co-founder of independent price comparison site, energyhelpline.com, said the results show SSE customers are voting with their feet in their hundreds of thousands.

“370,000 customers have left in the last year and when you compare their standard tariff to the cheapest on the market, it is no surprise. The SSE Standard tariff is almost £200 a year more expensive than the cheapest out there. If you are with SSE you might want to consider whether you would prefer them to have the extra £200 in their pocket or whether you’d prefer to have it in yours. If you would prefer it in yours, the way to get it is to switch.”

James Padmore, head of energy at comparethemarket.com, said: “Today’s results show that for consumers, big doesn’t necessarily mean better. People are increasingly shopping around for their energy provision and their appetite for the Big Six is certainly dipping .

“The increased competition in the energy market, with smaller providers often offering lower prices, is attracting people away from the traditional suppliers.”

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