SSE reports big profits jump... but bills still going up

ENERGY company SSE has reported a spike in profits - helped by the electricity it produces at gas power plants - as reports emerged that the government is considering including energy generators in a potential windfall tax.

The company, parent of SSE Airtricity in Ireland, said adjusted operating profit rose 15 per cent to £1.5 billion in the year to March, while pre-tax profits hit £3.5 billion, up 44 per cent.

SSE Airtricity, the north's second biggest supplier, is hiking customers’ electric bills by 33 per cent from June 1, which equates to roughly £248 a year.

A good part of overall SSE rise came from the thermal unit of the business which runs several gas power plants that supply electricity to the grid. This unit saw a 91 per cent rise in adjusted operating profit, hitting £306 million.

"This was a year in which our resilient business mix and balanced portfolio of assets helped us navigate volatile markets and meet our financial objectives whilst making record investments in the critical UK infrastructure needed to tackle climate change and deliver more secure, independent energy supplies," said chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies.

A windfall tax on oil and gas companies might be announced as early as this week as the Government tries to raise money to help households through the energy crisis.

Average bills are expected to jump again in October, with early predictions that Ofgem's energy price cap might rise by more than £800.

The government is reportedly also considering whether power generators such as SSE could see their tax hiked.

But Mr Phillips-Davies said that his company plans to invest "significantly more than we are making in profits" in trying to decarbonise the UK's systems.

"In the context of a global energy crisis and intense pressure on the cost of living, we are helping to drive the build-out of vital electricity infrastructure that will reduce dependency on imported gas and help protect consumers from future price spikes," he said.

Last year the business invested a record £2.1 billion as part of a £12.5 billion investment plan by 2026.

It is currently building around 2.4 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity.

"Strategically, operationally and financially, SSE is well-placed to continue to create value for all of our stakeholders and wider society as we create the infrastructure needed to deliver net zero, secure energy supplies and ultimately drive consumer prices down," Mr Phillips-Davies said.

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