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SSE

SSE has long been one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers, as well as a renewable generator. But is it the right gas and electricity firm for you, especially now that customers are owned and supplied by Ovo?
Natalie Turner
Sse big six 480406

SSE is based in Scotland where it began in 1947 as the Southern Electricity Board before becoming known as Southern Electric.

It merged with Scottish Hydro 20 years ago and, since then, Swalec, Atlantic and Airtricity have all become part of SSE.

Now its customers have been bought by Ovo Energy. This means that around five million households are supplied by Ovo Energy, making it the second-biggest energy company after British Gas.

Ovo has the rights to use the SSE brand so, for the moment, the SSE brand and products still exist and customers won’t see any immediate changes.

SSE also sells home phone and broadband contracts, and boiler cover. SSE Reward gives customers access to offers and presale tickets at SSE venues. These still exist now Ovo has bought its customers.

Spark Energy, which was taken over by Ovo when the small supplier stopped trading in 2018, are in the process of merging with SSE so its customers will become SSE customers.

SSE offer a range of fixed-term tariffs, including one bundled with smart home products and another designed for electric vehicle drivers (giving you up to 8,000 miles of free electricity if you charge your car in off-peak hours).

However, as of 2021, with the effect of the UK's energy crisis, SSE's website has been updated to relay that they cannot offer their usual tariffs to new customers. They advise the public to stay with their current providers for the time being.

SSE customer review

SSE came joint-eighth out of 18 energy companies, rated by 8,390 members of the public, in the annual Which? customer survey. It tied with Sainsbury's Energy, Eon, and Scottish Power.

I think for the money paid, there should be a better system.

SSE customer

The prices are far too high - same as all electricity companies. However, the website is easy to navigate.

SSE customer

SSE score

The graphic below shows the breakdown of SSE’s score from our latest survey. Take a look at Ovo’s results to see what might be in store for SSE customers, now they’re part of Ovo.

Scroll down to find out how SSE compares with its rivals.

SSERating
Overall customer score55%
Customer service online or over the phone
How accurate energy payments are
How clear payments are
Value for money

Find out how SSE compares with other energy companies – see the full results of the best and worst energy companies.

Which? Verdict on SSE

Pros: 

Cons: Customers reported SSE as expensive; poor customer service

SSE can be found at the bottom of the heap along with some other traditional big companies, sharing the joint-either place with big names like Eon and Scottish Power. 

SSE has plenty of room for improvement compared with its parent company Ovo Energy, which ranks an impressive joint-second this year.

SSE's customers gave it an average rating of three stars for bill clarity, but this was the highest rating received. It was rated two stars for all other categories.

Dog laying peacefully on the arm of a sofa

SSE customer service

According to our data, over half (52%) of SSE customers we heard from said its customer service was good and 62% were satisfied with it as a supplier overall.

We also found 14% of the 604 SSE customers we surveyed claimed they had a reason to complain in the last year. This is marginally lower than the average rate of those who had reason to complain across the board (15%). Of these, 92% did actually complain, with the majority of these complaining regarding customer service (33%) or bills and statements (32%).

Our research indicates that 50% of customers were dissatisfied by the resolution of their claim, not the highest figure we found, but higher than the average of 47%.

In comparison, only 19% said they were satisfied by the resolution of their issue, much lower than the average of 28%.

Customer service around payments is shocking and unhelpful.

SSE customer

SSE Value for Money

SSE scored a 'poor' two stars for value for money in our recent survey, and it seemed to be an issue many customers were particularly frustrated with. 

With rising gas and electricity prices nationwide, it appears as though SSE are struggling to keep their prices affordable. However, they have told the public via their website that they will not be able to take new customers at the moment, hopefully in an attempt to better the prices and experience of its existing customers.

The costs seem too high. I hear this from other people as well who have switched suppliers.

SSE customer

Can you join SSE with a prepayment meter?

Yes, SSE has customers with both traditional and smart prepayment meters.

Smart prepayment customers can top-up their credit online anytime using SSE's online account or app. Plus you'll get 'friendly credit' if you run out overnight or at the weekend.

You can top-up traditional prepayment meters at PayPoints of Post Office branches. If you run out of credit unexpectedly, SSE will lend you some 'emergency credit' until you're next able to top up. You can access this via your meter and will need to pay it back next time you top-up.

Does SSE sell renewable energy?

Around half of the electricity SSE sells is matched with renewables. It doesn’t generate any itself or buy any directly from renewable generators.

Proportion of renewable electricity sold to domestic customersGenerates renewable electricity?Buys renewable electricity directly from generators?Proportion of customers’ renewable electricity matched by REGO certificates?Generates or buys directly from fossil fuels?Sells green gas?
51.9%NoNo41.61%NoNo

Proportion of renewable electricity according to SSE’s 2019/2020 fuel mix. Other responses based on information provided by suppliers in August and September 2021.

SSE is part of Ovo Energy, which told us it has ‘chosen to invest in the smart grid because we believe that the renewable energy generation sector is well funded and growing fast’ and because ‘there is very little investment in the smart grid, which is urgently needed if we want to bring more intermittent renewable energy onto it’. Find out more about Ovo Energy.

Find out more about the differences between energy companies’ renewable electricity.

SSE in the news

SSE in 2021

March: SSE is paying 132,620 of its customers over £900,000 after overcharging them when they switched supplier or tariff between 2013 and 2020. It was one of 18 energy firms found by regulator Ofgem to have failed to uphold these rules. Over 1 million customers were affected.

SSE’s affected customers will receive £7.41 each, on average.

SSE in 2020

August: SSE Energy Services failed to meet its smart meter installation target in 2019, energy regulator Ofgem revealed. 

The biggest energy suppliers, including SSE, set their own goals for how many smart meters they will install in homes and small businesses each year. Ofgem checks whether they achieve this. 

Ovo bought SSE Energy Services in early 2020, so it will pay £1.2m to compensate for SSE’s failure. 

January: Ovo announced that it had bought SSE’s customers, including for gas and electricity, broadband, home phone and boiler and heating cover. 

Don’t pay your energy firm more than you should. Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.