SSE boss insists 'we are not profiteers'

SSE's Managing Director, who is due to face MPs later today, explains why customers are experiencing a 8.3 percent increase in their bills.

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'Big Six' energy firms face a grilling from MPs

Bosses from the "Big Six" energy companies are due to give evidence later today to the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee where they are expected to be grilled by MPs.

The Houses of Parliament with a cloud above.
The "Big Six" energy companies are due to give evidence to an influential group of MPs later today. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Their appearance follows a statement by the Prime Minister's official spokesman who said it was up to the energy companies to justify their charges to consumers amid the latest round of price rises.

Find out here how UK energy prices compare to other EU countries

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Lib Dem MP calls for non-profit energy firm

Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams has asked the Prime Minister to consider setting up a not-for-profit energy company based on the model of Glas Cymru which owns Welsh Water. He now says he'll also raise it with Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood made a similar call for the creation of a not-for-profit energy company in her recent conference speech.

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Consumer Focus: SSE 'not a case of one bad apple'

Consumer Focus has welcomed Ofgem's decision to fine SSE for the "systemic failure" in its direct selling operations.

This is not a case of one bad apple or one rogue sales team. The problems at SSE affected the whole direct selling operation and represent a fundamental failure at one of our biggest energy companies.

Other companies have also broken direct selling.

This has been a stain on the energy market since the introduction of competition. While the situation has got better and many companies have decided to end doorstep sales, the recent history casts a long shadow and Ofgem are right to take this scale if action.

– Adam Scorer, director of policy at Consumer Focus
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SSE 'very sorry' for mis-selling breaches

In response to Ofgem's £10.5m fine for mis-selling, energy firm SSE's corporate affairs director Alan Young said the firm was "very sorry" about the breaches of the rules.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme

What we were doing was not adequately telling people about the terms and conditions of their contract or adequately making sure they had the information they needed to switch.

We have set up an independent compliance unit to make sure, to monitor, to audit, to randomly check energy sales across all channels now so customers can have the assurance when they are dealing with us there are safeguards in place and proper structures.

We have totally reformed our business in this area, we have restructured it.

Mr Young also defended the management team still being in place, insisting SSE was one of the "best companies in Britain".

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Examples of misleading claims made by SSE

According to Ofgem, some of the misleading claims made on the doorstep, over the phone or in-store to customers by energy firm SSE were as follows:

  • Telling some customers that they would save money when in fact they were switched on to a more expensive contract
  • Saying that by switching to SSE they would be getting the full reductions they’re entitled to, “just like the government intended”.
  • Saying that other suppliers were putting their prices or that price increases were higher than they actually were.
  • Suggesting they could put them on a “preferred customer tariff… with no standing charge”, omitting that they would be charged higher first tier unit rates instead of a standing charge.

SWALEC's parent company fined £10.5m for mis-selling

The fine imposed on SSE will be the largest ever on an energy provider. Credit: PA

Utility giant SSE, which owns Welsh energy supplier SWALEC, is to be fined £10.5m for "prolonged and extensive" mis-selling.

Energy watchdog Ofgem said it found "failures at every stage of the sales process" across SSE's telephone, in-store and doorstep selling activities.

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