Utility sees slump in accounts

Customers flee SSE in search for better deals

SSEEnergy company SSE, which trades in Scotland as Scottish-Hydro, lost 90,000 customers accounts in the past three months as more chose to shop around for the best deals. In the year to March, it saw 500,000 move to rival companies.

Its share price fell 5% following the update and a warning that profits were likely to dip at its energy supply division.

The Perth-based utility said customer account numbers were down from 8.58 million at the end of March to 8.49m on 30 June.

However, in a trading statement, it also said it continued to roll-out smart meters and improve the quality and accessibility of the service it provides to customers by upgrading its websites and digital channels. There is a new system to improve call waiting times and a new facility to enable live sign language conversations with customers via video link.

It recently committed to building a 32-turbine, 108 megawatt Bhalraidh wind farm near Invermoriston in the Great Glen. This follows the announcement this week that it had completed its 190 km section of the grid connection between Beauly, near Inverness, and Denny, near Stirling.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive,  said: “The early months of this new financial year have again demonstrated the breadth and depth of the issues that need to be managed by SSE as we aim to fulfil our core purpose of providing the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way.

“While there have been significant developments affecting all parts of the business, there has also been important progress in operational performance, which is essential for meeting the expectations of customers now and in the future.”

Today’s annual meeting was the last for chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin who is replaced by his deputy, Richard Gillingwater.

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