ENERGY giant SSE yesterday reported a two per cent rise in full-year profit supported by higher renewable energy output which helped offset a drop in customer numbers and lower energy demand.
The utility company’s adjusted profit for the year ended March 2012 came in at £1.34bn.
It said operating profit at its wholesale business unit – which includes the production, storage and generation of energy – was up 6.4 per cent, helped primarily by higher output of renewables from hydro and wind power. Total electricity output from all renewable resources rose 73 per cent during the year, reflecting extra generation capacity coming into operation and favourable weather conditions. But profits fell 20 per cent at the company’s retail business, which supplies electricity and gas to households and businesses, due to a dip in customer numbers as well as lower average consumption.
“Higher wholesale gas prices, falling demand for energy and a succession of winter storms presented major challenges for the wholesale, retail and networks parts of SSE,” the company said.
SSE said total energy customer accounts fell by 100,000 during last year to 9.55m.
Average gas use was down 19.9 per cent, while electricity consumption dropped 6.9 per cent, said SSE.
SSE also warned of challenging markets in the UK and Ireland in the year ahead.