Aborted billing system upgrade hits SSE retail profits


SSE retail profits took a hit from its decision not to plough on with a billing system upgrade.

For the year ending 31 March, the firm posted preliminary adjusted operating profit of £1,874m, up 2.7% on the previous year.

Adjusted operating profits in its retail business dipped to £389.5m from £398.9m, with lower wholesale costs offsetting customer losses.

However, reported retail operating profit fell 29% to £309.6m, which SSE blamed on “exceptional impairments in the year particularly the impairment of technology developments projects, principally relating to an Energy Supply customer billing system which is no longer being progressed”.

The firm lost around 190,000 domestic accounts (100,000 electricity, 90,000 gas) and around 20,000 business accounts across UK and Ireland. SSE said that was its smallest annual decline since 2013, despite recent high overall market switching rates.

SSE’s Enterprise division, which provides multi-utilities for I&C and public sector customers, saw profits tumble from £40.9m to £16.7m. SSE indicated that the division, with a new managing director, was now in a “key phase of development”.

Elsewhere, the firm said it had now installed more than 500,000 smart meters and would “significantly” ramp up its rollout this financial year, provided all necessary comms and other infrastructure is in place.

The company added that it backed changes to policies such as the capacity market that made the market more “level”, but warned of unintended consequences of other interventions, such as capping prices.

See the results here.

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British Gas hit with £9.5m fine for billing failures 

Npower to pay £26m for customer service failures

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