SSE business energy slumps to loss as bad debt bites


SSE’s business energy division slumped to an £18.5m loss for the year to 31 March, down from £51.6m profit the prior year.

Electricity sales to businesses fell 17 per cent year on year, gas sales were broadly flat. Customer accounts fell from 55,000 to 52,000.

Aged debt increased significantly while bad debt more than doubled to £31.3m.

Source: SSE

The company has agreed to merge its business and enterprise divisions to a single brand.

The enterprise division focuses primarily on distributed energy and also provides telecoms services and M&E contracting services. It reported a loss of £2m, down from a £31.8m profit last year.

Despite a poor business result, and a fall in reported profits across the business, SSE shares climbed as 10 per cent this morning on the back of higher than expected adjusted profit.

Contributing to the price rise is SSE’s commitment to continue paying dividends, which some blue chips have cut in the wake of coronavirus.

SSE calculated a Covid-19 impact of £55.9m for the year to 31 March 2020, mainly in bad debt provision. For the current year, it anticipates the impact will be between £150m-£250m, though said it would offset that by cutting spend, mainly capex, by £250m over the year.

SSE also made an investment decision on the Viking wind farm in Shetland and outlined a commitment to invest £7bn out to 2025.

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