'Big Six' energy supplier SSE posts record breaking profits of £1.55bn

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The 'Big Six' energy supplier SSE has reported a 9.6% rise in annual pre-tax profits to a record figure of £1.55bn for the year to 31 March.

Despite overall profits being up however, the firm's retail business saw a significant 28.6% annual drop in operating profit - down to £292m.

Last November SSE increased its household energy bills by 8.2% before later announcing in March of this year it planned to freeze energy tariffs until January 2016.

SSE confirmed it had lost a staggering 370,000 customers over the course of the year, but added the vast majority of its customers switched to competitors before confirmation of its two year price freeze.

Despite the recent loss of customers however, the firm is still the energy supplier to around 9.10 million households within Great Britain and Ireland.

SSE chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, believes the huge boost in profit is largely down to the firm's investment in gas production and electricity networks.

He said: "We introduced our price freeze right at the end of the last financial year and it has been hugely popular.

"It remains the only such commitment available to all customers and will mean we take a hit on retail profits over the next couple of years."

SSE chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, added: "SSE is listening to and helping customers with the longest ever household energy price freeze in the Great Britain market.

"We have well-defined plans for net investment of around £5.5bn over the next four years in maintaining, upgrading and building the electricity assets customers depend on.

"And we are committed to giving investors a fair return through an annual dividend that at least keeps pace with inflation."

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