Energy company reviews
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 6 of 6
SSE (previously known as Scottish and Southern Energy) is the UK’s second-largest energy supplier, and is a supply partner for M&S Energy.
SSE is a UK company, based in Scotland, which began in 1947 as the Southern Electricity Board before becoming known as Southern Electric.
In 1998, it merged with Scottish Hydro and incorporated Swalec in 2000. In 2004, Atlantic joined the group and, finally, in 2008, Airtricity became part of SSE, forming Northern Irish company .
The company is the UK’s largest energy generator from renewable sources. It also offers home phone and broadband contracts.
Can you save money with SSE? See how its prices compare with your current deal – use Which? Switch to find you the cheapest gas and electricity.
SSE customer score
The supplier came joint 15th out of 23 energy companies rated by 8,917 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey – the biggest of its kind.
‘Its prices are reasonably competitive in the overall market for a major supplier, so I'm content to stay’
The table below shows the breakdown of its score from our latest survey.
Besides our customer satisfaction survey, we investigate how long it takes suppliers to pick up the phone in customer services and whether you can get a good energy deal. Scroll down to find out how SSE compares with its rivals.
|SSE survey results|
|Area of performance||Star rating|
|Customer service and complaints handling|
|Value for money|
|Bills (accuracy and clarity)|
|Helping you to save energy|
(Survey: October 2016, responses of 1,023 SSE customers.)
Find out how SSE compares with other energy companies – see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.
Which? verdict on SSE
SSE ranks slightly better against its Big Six competitors than last year. This year, it’s behind Eon and is equal with British Gas. In 2016, SSE was fourth out of the Big Six.
But there’s still plenty of room for improvement: its customers gave it three stars across the board for customer service and complaints handling, value for money and more.SSE does offer competitive tariff rates, though. As one customer told us: ‘SSE offered me a good price for the tariff compared with my previous supplier.’
SSE customer service
Compared with last year, SSE customers are generally happier with the service they received when they’ve had problems. One said: ‘SSE has good customer service; the telephone staff are pleasant and helpful.’
But we also had several comments from customers having to explain their problems repeatedly: ‘Different customer service representatives were inconsistent when answering the same questions.’
Our snapshot investigation into energy companies’ customer waiting times found SSE to take 8m18s on average to answer our calls to its customer services. It wasn’t the slowest company (Eon took 14m18s on average to pick up the phone in customer services), but new customers phoning sales got to speak to a human more than six minutes faster.
Pros: Offers competitive tariffs
Cons: In our call-waiting investigation, SSE was more than six minutes slower to answer the phone to existing customers than new ones
SSE fuel mix
Where SSE gets its fuel from:
- 37% renewable
- 31% coal
- 27% natural Gas
- 3% nuclear
- 2% other.
(Note: This information was correct as of January 2017.)
SSE energy prices
The graph below shows how SSE’s variable (also known as standard) tariff and its cheapest fixed tariff compared with the cheapest fixed tariff on the market over a two-year period.
If you were a SSE customer and on its variable tariff, you would have been paying a lot less if you’d switched to a cheaper energy deal, especially in summer 2016.
SSE announced that the 2.8million customers on its standard tariff will see their gas and electricity bill rise by £72 on average (6.9%) per year, following a price rise on 28 April. It will raise its electricity prices by 14.9%, while keeping gas prices the same. SSE blamed the increasing cost of supplying electricity for the price rise.
In November 2016, SSE was the first of the Big Six energy companies to promise it would freeze energy prices over the winter.
Don’t pay your energy firm more than you should. Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.
SSE in the news
November: SSE and Npower announced plans to merge into a new energy supplier.
SSE said the merger will help the firms compete in a "competitive and regulatory environment" and make savings from efficiencies. It plans to separate its household energy and services business from generation. SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said that this ‘will ultimately better serve customers, employees and other stakeholders’.
October: SSE said it will stop automatically rolling customers onto standard tariffs when their fixed deal ends from early next financial year. Instead, it will move customers onto an equivalent or cheapest fixed tariff, it said in a letter to the government.
September: SSE came 90th out of 100 in a Which? survey of best and worst big brands for customer service, with a customer service score of 70%.
July: SSE announced it had lost 230,000 customer accounts over the last year, leaving it with 7.7million. A ‘highly competitive’ market is behind the change, it said. It also lost 210,000 customers the previous year.
SSE became the first FTSE 100 company to get the Fair Tax Mark, recognising transparency and openness in a company’s tax affairs.