No energy price rises before 2016 says SSE
SSE has announced it will freeze the price of domestic gas and electricity at their current levels until 2016.
Conversely, many of the “big six” UK energy firms raised their tariffs at the end of 2013.
SSE said it would “streamline” its business to cover the lower profits this price freeze will cause.
To this end, 500 jobs are being cut and four planned offshore wind farms have been postponed.
It is hoped this streamlining will save £100 million.
In spite of heavy criticism, SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Delivering the lowest possible energy prices to customers was central to everything we do.”
Mr Phillips-Davies has called on the government to forget energy taxes and retrieve revenue through general taxation instead.
He said such measures would ensure tax “is paid for fairly in a way that is proportionate to people’s income and protects the vulnerable.”
The company’s chief added that freezing prices is the most important thing to customers and that his company is “looking to do whatever it can to bring down prices for customers.”
In an effort to improve its transparency, SSE which is based in Perth announced, it would legally separate the retail and wholesale businesses by March 2015.
Ed Davey, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, said: “This shows that the big six are starting to realise they need to take big action if they want to keep their customers, who have been switching suppliers in record numbers.”
Mr Davey added: “SSE has shown today that the big energy firms are able to cut their costs and profits, and be confident about their ability to weather potential uncertainty in the wholesale markets, to give bill payers long-term price security.”
Competition is key to prices and has been a major issue in the energy sector, with regulators expected to decide this week whether or not their needs to be a full investigation into the competition practices of energy firms.
This spotlight, however, is not the reason behind SSE’s announcement according to Mr Phillips-Davies.
Photo: Aastha Gill