SSE posts 8.8 per cent rise in profits – if you look very closely

Big six energy supplier SSE said it expects profits to rise to £1.54bn this year, mere months after pushing customers’ bills up 8.2 per cent.

This equates to an 8.8 per cent increase in pre-tax profits, despite SSE losing 250,000 customers in the nine months to 31 December 2013.

The profit forecast was slipped in at the very bottom of the FTSE 100 company’s interim management statement, buried in the footnotes. Funny that.

SSE raised its prices back in November, adding £104 to the average annual dual-fuel bill. Since then, the government said it would shift some green levies away from energy bills and into general taxation, prompting the big six to adjust their prices accordingly. SSE has been one of the slowest to pass savings on to their customers – bills are going down on 24 March.

“This will come as a shock to customers who have been told they must wait until the end of March for their prices to be cut in line with the government's levy reductions,” said Claire Osborne, energy expert at consumer group uSwitch.com.

“SSE, like all suppliers, needs to make a profit, but announcing this while consumers are struggling through this winter with higher fuel costs is going to be like waving a red rag at a bull.”