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SSE Loses Half a Million Customers in 2014

SSESSE the UK’s second largest energy supplier has revealed that in the first six months of 2014 they lost nearly half a million customers.

In total 2014 has seen Scottish & Southern Electricity lose 5% of their customer base, falling from 9.47m to 8.99m in the period from January to June.

SSE also reports that the average volume of energy consumed by their customers has contracted by 7% for electricity and 29% for gas customers.

At least the second quarter of 2014 showed better performance for SSE with the customer losses falling to 110,000 from the 370,000 exits seen in Q1 2014.

Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies, who has had an interesting 2014 with his decision to implement the longest ever domestic price freeze and his spat with Sam Laidlaw of Centrica over the CMA Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the energy market, said:

“Although market conditions are challenging, we are on course to give shareholders a return on their investment through a dividend increase that at least keeps pace with inflation.”

SSE’s travails are a surprise given their pricing policy for domestic customers and their often market leading short term business energy prices and also that its customer complaints performance is significantly better than its compatriots Scottish Power and the remainder of the Big 6.

SSE’s 34 complaints per 100,000 customers compares very favourably against a Big 6 average of 151 and 198 for Scottish Power and a scarcely believable 592 for nPower.

So the losses beg the question where are these customers going? Small suppliers are undoubtedly benefitting from the exodus, however it will be interesting to see how the less highly rated Big 6 energy suppliers have fared in 2014 and where growth is happening and why. The hope is the new, innovative and customer centric suppliers will have gained but the energy market often surprises as SSE’s latest figures testify.

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