Energy giant’s profits will rise – as will bills

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ENERGY giant SSE said it was on course to pump up profits to £1.54bn this year and increase payouts to shareholders, two months after announcing a sharp hike in customer tariffs.

The announcement is likely to spark fresh calls for a cap on household gas and electricity bills as incomes continue to be squeezed.

SSE, which trades as Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro, raised tariffs by an average of 8.2 per cent from November, blaming government green levies as well as rising network costs and wholesale energy prices.

Bills will be cut by 3.5 per cent for all of the group’s nine million residential customers from March 24 after the group passed on savings from the government’s green levy shake-up, but it still means an overall above-inflation rise for hard-pressed households.

SSE’s chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, said: ‘Despite what is clearly a difficult business environment, the overall performance of the company has been solid in 2013/14 and the efforts of employees, shown recently in the response to the Christmas week storms, have been excellent.’