SSE profits soar after price hikes and long winter – but tariffs to rise again

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The Independent Online

SSE, the Big Six energy provider, warned that customers should brace themselves for further price hikes as it reported a near 30 per cent rise in profits from its retail customers last year.

The company, formerly known as Scottish & Southern Energy, reported a £410m operating profit at its retail arm, helping the group to more than double its pre-tax profit for the period to £600.9m.

SSE, which benefited from a 9 per cent rise in its gas and electricity prices in October and the prolonged winter, cautioned that it was likely to pass on increasing wholesale costs to its customers in the form of higher bills.

SSE cited "additional costs of over £80 per dual fuel customer in 2013/14" for the looming price increase, but refused to say how much would be passed on to customers.

"Unless there is a sustained reduction in prices in wholesale and electricity markets, it is highly likely that these additional costs will eventually have to be reflected in higher prices for household customers," an SSE spokesman said.

Ann Robinson, of the uSwitch price comparison website, said SSE's profits were a "smoking gun, making it difficult for any supplier to justify last winter's price hikes and the pressure they have placed on consumers".