Shares in SSE fell 0.4 per cent to 1,516 pence this morning, following news that two units in its Ferrybridge power station are still out of action.
A fire broke out at the Yorkshire-based power plant on 31 July, damaging units three and four. In a statement released earlier today, SSE confirmed that it does not expect unit 3 to return to service until 1 November, while unit 4 is likely to remain out of action for the rest of the financial year to March.
The British electric utility company said the effects of the fire had added to an “already challenging business environment”, adding that it expects an operating loss in its energy supply business for retail during the six months to 30 September.
However, by the time the six months are over, the energy company intends to have invested around £700m in maintaining, upgrading and building its infrastructure.
Gregor Alexander, SSE finance director, said:
We said at the start of the financial year that the issues facing the energy sector are very challenging, and that has proved to be the case. Energy is a long term business, however, and we are confident that focusing on positive engagement with our Retail and Networks customers, maintaining a strong operational focus and investing in the right assets, is the right approach.The challenges are unlikely to abate in the second half of the financial year but our continuing operational and financial discipline should enable us to meet the needs of customers and provide a fair return to investors.
SSE had a very positive first half of 2014, with share price steadily increasing. Shares have been more volatile since then, set off by a significant decline over the course of July.