No new billing system for foreseeable future, says SSE as customer losses continue


SSE will not upgrade billing systemSSE has decided against upgrading its back-end billing system any time soon.

The supplier, attempting to stem the rate of customer losses in recent years, said in a trading statement that it would instead focus on front-end retail efforts.

That decision will be welcomed by shareholders: billing systems upgrades have a history of causing severe customer service issues. British Gas was last week given a £9.5m penalty following a difficult systems implementation, with Npower and Scottish Power also fined heavily for similar problems in the last year.

SSE lost around 130,000 customer accounts in the nine months to 31 December, although it sold 1.8% more power overall to those customers compared to the previous period, and 9.6% more gas. Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 15.09.49

Capacity auction

Meanwhile, the company said it has prequalified 5,908MW of generation – including all of its thermal plant – into the next capacity auction, which begins today and aims to secure capacity for next winter.

SSE has 5,305MW of gas-fired and oil-fired generation in the UK and Ireland, as well as the 1,995MW of coal-fired generation at Fiddler’s Ferry, which failed to secure a capacity contract in last December’s auction for delivery over 2020/21.

Smart meters

SSE said it remains committed to the smart meter rollout, but reiterated concerns around customer take-up. The supplier said it has now installed over 400,000 smart meters compared to over 180,000 nine months previously, suggesting a run rate of around 1,000 smart meter installs per working day.

See the update here.

Related stories:

SSE urges smart meter rethink as costs spiral and benefits tank

British Gas hit with £9.5m fine for billing failures 

Npower to pay £26m for customer service failures

BES Utilities fined £1m for bad business practices

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