Energy firm SSE increases profits by 10pc despite losing 370,000 customers
UK-based energy supplier SSE, which trades as Airtricity here, said it lost 370,000 customers in Britain and Ireland.
Despite the losses, SSE reported a 9.6pc increase in 2014 full-year adjusted pretax profit, boosted by a strong performance in its electricity transmission operations.
The group, a member of Britain's 'Big Six' energy suppliers which have come under fire for consistently increasing tariffs, reported profits of £1.6bn, ahead of the £1.5bn expected by an average of 17 analysts according to Thomson Reuters data.
Despite the rise, the utility said yesterday the issues facing the energy sector were "very challenging".
It made the bold move in March to freeze its energy tariffs until January 2016.
"Customers, investors, regulators, politicians and SSE all want the same thing: an energy market that works for customers, and is trusted and seen to do so," said chairman Robert Smith.
Retail operating profit at SSE was down 28.6pc to £292m for the year to March 2014.
The company's electricity transmission operating profit, however, rose by nearly half due to a major increase in investment which chairman Smith said would continue with a net investment of around 5.5 billion pounds over four years in the network.
He said shareholders would not suffer as a consequence.
"We are committed to giving investors a fair return through an annual dividend that at least keeps pace with inflation," he said.
The energy firm said yesterday its full-year dividend increased by 3 to 86.7 pence per share.