SSE, the energy company behind Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, has revealed a leap in profits of almost 40%, just a month after announcing a 9% increase in bills.
The UK’s second-largest generator of electricity said its £398m half-year profit was necessary to “make investments that keep the lights on”. However, consumer groups, and even rival energy providers, questioned the scale of the increase.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? consumer magazine, said it bolstered the case for an independent review of gas and electricity charges.
“Without greater scrutiny of energy prices, consumers simply will not believe that they’re getting a good deal,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Co-op’s fledgling energy business warned that the SSE results would further alienate customers. “Announcements of huge profit increases for shareholders do nothing to help the tarnished image of UK energy industry or get to grips with consumer concerns,” said Nigel Mason, of Co-operative Energy. “This profit announcement off the back off a 9% bill increase will be a bitter pill for SSE customers to swallow.”