POWER supplier SSE is due to publish analysis tomorrow showing the group has contributed £27 billion to the British economy over the past three years – a move likely to be seen as a bid to overcome criticism of the utility giants.
The report, produced by “big four” accountant PwC, comes ahead of this week’s first-half results and will show that the Perth-based firm supports 111,900 jobs and generates the equivalent of 0.6 per cent of UK GDP.
Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “SSE is proud to have contributed £27bn to the UK economy in the past three years. It shows the scale of our commitment to UK plc and measures the economic benefit that our investment brings.
“As a responsible company, SSE seeks to maximise the economic benefits from its activities, not just in the countries it operates in, but in local communities too. This analysis from PwC helps us to identify areas where we can enhance our impact.”
SSE said in March that it would be freezing household energy prices until “at least” January 2016 as it unveiled plans to trim £100 million off its annual cost base within the next two years. The move, which will lead to about 500 job losses, saw plans for a number of wind farms shelved as “no longer financially viable”.
However, SSE said on Thursday that it was making “significant progress” with the £3bn Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth as it agreed to sell a 25 per cent stake in the project to fund manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Following the deal, the Scots group will be left with a 50 per cent interest in the scheme, with partner Repsol maintaining its 25 per cent ownership.
Amid continued scrutiny of the power companies, regulator Ofgem said in July that power bills are to be reduced by £12 a year on average after new price controls were agreed by five of the six companies that run Britain’s electricity network.
The watchdog said the cut had been driven by £2.1bn of savings it has secured from the companies’ business plans since last year, but SSE finance director Gregor Alexander said the supplier was “disappointed” with the announcement, in particular Ofgem’s proposals on efficient financing and assumptions about the scope of further cost reductions across the industry.
SSE is due to publish its half-year results on Wednesday and is expected to confirm that it has invested about £700m during the six months to September “maintaining, upgrading and building the energy assets that its customers depend on”.
The group, which is on track to deliver another inflation-beating rise in dividends, has also said that its energy supply business will have continued to rack up losses in the first half, “albeit at a reduced level” compared with a year ago.
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