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Energy company SSE loses another 160,000 customers

Eleanor Newis
Feb 8, 2019


 

 

The big six energy giant SSE has seen a sharp drop in customer numbers and has cut its full-year financial forecast.

It has stated that it has lost 160,000 customers in the last three months of 2018, and this leaves it with 5.88 million consumer accounts.

Recently the European court also ruled out a UK industry-wide subsidy that had been supporting emergency fuel supplies. After this ruling SSE cut its profit forecast for this year.

In November 2018, SSE suffered a blow when it called off its plan to join with another big six firm, Npower. The company blamed ‘challenging market conditions’ and the Ofgem price cap for making the merge a bad business move.

This deal would’ve meant that these two companies created the UK’s second-biggest energy supplier, and would have turned the UK big six into the big five.

However, SSE has now said that it is assessing options for its domestic supply business.

The firm said that the European court ruling would decrease its income by around £60 million in 2019. SSE expects the profit decrease to be ‘a matter of timing only’ as the Government is likely to make the payments in the future and therefore boost its business.

However, whilst the firm waits for this, it’s earning per share will likely be 6p lower than was previously expected, and will be in the range of 64-69p. This is in contrast to its November forecast of 70-75p.

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said that the provider was making ‘good progress’ on its decision about what to do with the retail arm of its business.

The options that have been brought up so far are: putting the retail branch of SSE on the stock market; selling it; or finding an alternative transaction.

Donald Brown, who is from the stockbroker Brewin Dolphin, told the BBC that SSE’s future ‘remains unclear’.

He said: ‘It’s difficult to see who might be interested in buying the business, which has been in decline for some time.’

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