SSE must put customers firstWhich? calls for rethink after profit announcement

20 May 2011

Amid mis-selling accusations and energy price hikes, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) today posted pre-tax profits of around £1.3 billion.

SSE's pre-tax profit up 29% last year, a contrast to consumers' disposable income, which fell 0.8% in 2010. Despite this, SSE said that customers should expect an increase in prices over the next year. 

This announcement will be yet another blow to consumers who have already been hit with energy price increases. In the last year, SSE has increased the price of its standard tariff by 18.5% - an extra £183.16.

Putting shareholders ahead of customers

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, says:

'Customers already struggling with rising energy costs and increasing inflation will find today's announcement difficult to swallow. Once again, it appears that a Big Six energy company is putting its shareholders ahead of its customers.

'People are fed up with energy companies insisting they have to increase prices, while announcing bumper profits.

'SSE claims to deliver a 'sector-leading service to energy customers', which is extraordinary when they've just been found guilty of doorstop mis-selling.'

'Big Six' energy profit boost

It is likely that customers will be extremely unhappy about SSE's profit announcement. SSE is the last of the 'Big Six' energy companies to report profits. Across the six, profits are up 26% on 2009 and 58% on 2008. Record profits announced by British Gas earlier this year prompted outrage from consumer groups and customers alike.

Commenter Gareth on Which? Conversation said: 'I work in a global company so am aware of the many departments that need to [be] paid to ensure the company stays buoyant but seriously, yet again the public is getting dumped on which will only cause further debt and reduce consumer confidence.'

Which? Energy campaigns

At Which? we campaign on a number of energy issues that affect consumers. From the roll-out of smart meters to the Green Deal, we want to make sure that energy initiatives are beneficial to the consumer and not just to energy companies. 

Visit our energy campaigns pages to see how you can get involved, or follow us @WhichAction on twitter or facebook for updates.