Power provider SSE has revealed its profits and a bigger payout to its shareholders just two days before its household prices are due to rise by 8.2%.
The energy supplier confirmed adjusted pre-tax profits of £354 million in the six months up to the end of September – down 11.7% in the same period last year.
The firm said its retail business recorded an £89.4 million operating loss and within this its energy supply division made a loss of £115.4 million – compared with a profit of £48.3 million a year earlier. SSE said this reflected the “impact of higher wholesale gas, distribution, environmental and social costs, which themselves were rising during the spring and summer period of lower energy consumption”.
SSE blamed the factors for its household gas and electricity price hikes, which will add around £2 per week to the average annual standard dual fuel bill, bringing the total to £1,224.
The power supplier confirmed a 3.2% rise in its interim dividend payment to its investors, claiming it is vital to ensure the group is able to raise enough money to fund spending on its network.
Sally Fairbairn, Director of Investor Relations and Analysis at SSE said: “Shareholders in SSE have supported and are continuing to support massive investment in the energy infrastructure of the UK and regular dividends are what they get in return for this investment. Without it, SSE could not finance the large capital projects that are helping to modernise the UK’s energy system.”
Consumer body Which? said despite reporting losses on its domestic supply business, SSE as a group has seen profits which will be of “little comfort” to customers who have been hit by price hikes this winter.
Executive Director Richard Lloyd added: “It’s time for the Government to turn up the heat on the energy companies and deliver the radical changes that people need. George Osborne should use his Autumn Statement to cut the Big Six down to size and to cut the cost of Government energy policies to consumers.”