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Dividend raised

Loss of customers and lower demand hit SSE

SSEEnergy firm SSE said falling customer numbers and lower demand contributed to a 19% fall in operating profits.

The Perth-based utility also suffered from a fall in wholesale gas prices. Pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March was £593m, compared with £735m a year earlier.

Despite a 5.3% cut in gas prices in January Britain’s second largest energy company lost about 300,000 energy customers in the year, leaving it with 8.2 million.

In spite of the fall in profit SSE is proposing a 1.1% increase in the full-year dividend to 89.4p.

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies, said: “It has been another year in which SSE has delivered what it said it would.

“Nevertheless, the operating environment presented a number of complex issues, including the impact of prevailing commodity prices and intense retail market competition.

“At the same time, SSE has continued to demonstrate financial discipline and commitment to its long-term strategic framework. The fact that some of the mist is beginning to clear around the legislative, political and regulatory environment means there are grounds for some cautious optimism for the next couple of years.

“SSE continues to invest for the future and in the year ahead plans almost £1.75bn of investment into new energy infrastructure in the UK and Ireland and improvements in services for our customers.  SSE will continue to identify opportunities for growth, whilst maintaining its financial discipline, enabling it to deliver for customers, achieve its core purpose and meet its dividend commitments.”


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