Customers of SSE cut energy usage but profits stay at £1.3bn
Cash-strapped Britons' unwillingness to crank up the heating, plus more efficient homes, saw Scottish and Southern Energy customers' average gas consumption fall 19 per cent in the year to April.
SSE, which used to be known as Scottish & Southern Energy and millions of homeowners know as Southern Electric, slapped households with an 18 per cent hike in electricity prices and an 11 per cent jump in gas prices for winter in September, before dropping gas prices by 4.5 per cent from this week.
The company said its customers' electricity consumption was down by 7 per cent and gas by 19 per cent. But it blamed some of that on milder temperatures, saying that the weather-adjusted drop in consumption was about 4 per cent. Average bills for electricity and gas were £1118 without VAT for the year to April, down very slightly from £1,137 the previous year. SSE has promised its customers, who number some 10 million across the UK, that it won't raise energy prices before October.
Yesterday SSE told investors its pre-tax profit would be around the same level as last year's £1.3bn. It added the full-year dividend would be up by at least 2 per cent more than RPI inflation, at around 80p per share, slightly more than City analysts had expected. The energy giant added it had spent about £1.7bn on capital in the past 12 months, mainly on onshore wind farms. SSE already has the UK's largest onshore gas storage facility.
The chief executive Ian Marchant said: "The economic uncertainty and the challenges of global energy markets that have characterised recent years look set to continue for some time. I am pleased that even in such circumstances SSE has again demonstrated its ability to make progress and we are looking to get the new financial year off to the best possible start, in support of our ongoing commitment to sustained real dividend growth."
But although shares rose 7p to 1,329p in response to SSE's numbers, some in the City were gloomy on the stock. Angelos Anastasiou, an energy analyst at Investec, said: "There now need to be some tangible signs of the significantly increased capital expenditure of the past four years paying off. The 2011-12 full year will be the fourth year of lacklustre profit growth. We remain slightly wary."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...