SSE plc

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SSE plc
Type Public limited company
Traded as LSESSE
Industry Electric utility
Founded 1998
Headquarters Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
Key people Lord Smith of Kelvin (Chairman)
Alistair Phillips-Davies (CEO)
Products Electricity generation, transmission and distribution; energy trading
Revenue £28,304.6 million (2013)[1]
Operating income £1,579.5 million (2013)[1]
Net income £489.3 million (2013)[1]

SSE plc (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc) is a British electric utility company headquartered in Perth, Scotland.[2][3] It is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

SSE operates in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It is involved in the generation and supply of electricity, the supply of gas, the operation of gas and telecoms networks and other energy-related services such as gas storage, contracting, connections and metering.

It is considered as one of the Big Six, which dominate energy market in the United Kingdom.



The company has its origins in two public sector electricity supply authorities. The former North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board was founded in 1943 to design, construct and manage hydroelectricity projects in the Highlands of Scotland, and took over further generation and distribution responsibilities on the nationalisation of the UK's electricity industry in 1948. The former Southern Electricity Board was created in 1948 to distribute electricity in Southern England.

Whilst the Southern Electricity Board was a distribution-only authority, with no power generation capacity of its own, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric board was a broader spectrum organisation, with its own generating capabilities. Because of its history and location, the Hydro-Electric Board was responsible for most of the UK's hydroelectric generating capacity.

Both authorities were privatised in 1990/91, initially retaining their pre-privatisation geographic and functional bases. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board became Scottish Hydro-Electric, whilst the Southern Electricity Board became Southern Electric.


Scottish and Southern Energy was formed in 1998 following a merger between Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electric.[4]

In 2000, Scottish and Southern Energy acquired the SWALEC energy supply business.[4] In 2004 the Company acquired the Ferrybridge and Fiddlers Ferry Power Stations for £250million.[5] In 2008 it went on to buy Airtricity Holdings, an Irish wind farm business.[6] In 2009 it agreed to purchase Uskmouth power station from Welsh Power Group Limited.[7] In April 2010 the company purchased the natural gas exploration and production assets of Hess Corporation in three areas of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf - Everest/Lomond, Easington and Bacton.[8]

In January 2010, Scottish and Southern Energy intend to change the core company branding from Scottish and Southern Energy to SSE.[9] Alongside the renaming of SSE, they are also introducing other related changes across many parts of the business, which are as follows:

  • Supply: The supply business changes are being managed by the Supply Business Implementation Group. Most of this will be done centrally, so in general, the supply business won’t need to do anything.
  • Generation: The generation business currently comes under the Scottish and Southern Energy brand; in line with the SSE name change, this part of the company will be rebranded as SSE.
  • Power Networks: There are no plans to change the name or logo of the power networks businesses, so no changes are needed here. However, there will be some ongoing work to ensure that all signage, vehicle livery and other branding is consistent and up to date.
  • SSE Renewables: The SSE Renewables name, which replaces Airtricity for the generation side of the business, SSE launched in late 2009 and its implementation will be complete by the beginning of 2010.
  • Contracting: Southern Electric Contracting (SEC) becomes SSE Contracting.


The company is the second largest supplier of electricity and natural gas in the United Kingdom, and the UK's largest generator of renewable energy.[10] It incorporates the brands SWALEC, Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro Electric and Atlantic Electric and Gas. It also owns Southern Electric Power Distribution, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution and Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission. Its subsidiaries are organised into the main businesses of generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity; storage and supply of gas; electrical and utility contracting, and domestic appliance retailing and telecoms. They also own Airtricity.[6]

SSE also has an equity interest of 50% in, and provides corporate and management services to Scotia Gas Networks, which owns Southern Gas Networks and Scotland Gas Networks. Its contracting business has five main areas of activity: industrial, commercial and domestic, mechanical and electrical contracting; data communications; high-voltage design and maintenance; electrical and instrumentation engineering, and public and highway lighting.

Fuel mix[edit]

Renewable energy[edit]

In February 2012, the company applied to build Scotland's biggest hydro electric scheme at the west end of the Great Glen. The scheme is set to cost approximately £800m.[11] SSE had 1.1 GW of wind power capacity in 2012.[12] SSE announced a moratorium on new grid-connected wind farms in Orkney in September 2012.[13]

In March 2014, SSE announced that it was withdrawing investment in 4 major offshore wind farms. It plans to sell its stake in the Galloper wind farm and pull investment from the Islay, Dogger Bank and Firth of Forth wind farms. SSE blamed "limited subsidies and high costs".[14]

Nuclear power[edit]

In October 2009, NuGeneration (NuGen) a consortium of GDF Suez, Iberdrola and SSE was successful in securing an option to purchase land for the development of a new 3.6GW nuclear power station at Sellafield on the Cumbrian Coast from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.[15] However, on 23 September 2011, SSE announced it was withdrawing from the consortium and selling its 25% stake to the other two partners.[16]

Doorstep Mis-selling[edit]

In May 2012 SSE were fined £1.25m, at Guildford Crown Court, for misleading doorstep sales practices. In a case brought to court by Surrey Trading Standards, SSE employees were found to have breached the energy industry code of practice for doorstep selling and the company's licence to deliver energy supplies.[17]

In April 2013 SSE were further fined £10.5m by Ofgem for "prolonged and extensive" mis-selling, the regulator's biggest ever fine for an energy supplier. [18][19]

Distribution network operators[edit]

SSE is an energy supplier for homes across the country. They do not however manage the network of towers and cables that distributes electricity - these are maintained by distribution network operators (DNOs) which vary from region to region. If, for instance, there is a power outage it is necessary to contact the appropriate DNO rather than the energy supplier. See entry on distribution network operator for a full list. [20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Preliminary Results 2013
  2. ^ "Registered in Scotland No. 117119". Perth: Scottish and Southern Energy plc. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Brodie, Sophie (5 January 2008). "The Scottish utility". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Scottish and Southern Energy History
  5. ^ Scottish & Southern buys Fiddlers Ferry
  6. ^ a b Scottish & Southern to buy Irish Windfarm firm
  7. ^ Acquisition of Uskmouth power station
  8. ^ Kennedy, Simon (1 April 2010). "Scottish & Southern buys Hess assets for $423 mln". MarketWatch. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  9. ^ First press release with new branding
  10. ^ Scottish and Southern Energy Annual Report 2009
  11. ^ "SSE plans new £800m hydro electric storage scheme in Great Glen". BBC News. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Murray, James. "Scotland hails latest giant wind farms as SSE tops 1GW of capacity" BusinessGreen, 3 January 2012. Retrieved: 20 July 2012.
  13. ^ Windflow Technology Limited (13 September 2013). "Preliminary Announcement of Annual Results to 30 June 2013". p. 3. Retrieved 12 November 2013. "September 2012 – the electricity network operator for the Orkney Islands, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), announced a moratorium on further grid connection offers ..." 
  14. ^ Tepegraph News article
  15. ^ SSE, GDF SUEZ and Iberdrola to acquire site from Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
  16. ^ Company press release (23 September 2011). "Disposal of stake in NuGeneration Ltd". Scottish and Southern Electricity. 
  17. ^ "Scottish & Southern Energy fined £1.25m for doorstep sales techniques". The Guardian. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "SSE fined record £10.5m by Ofgem". BBC. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Ofgem hands record £10.5m fine to SSE for mis-selling, The Independent, 3 April 2013
  20. ^ "The GB electricity distribution network". Retrieved 14 July 2014. 

External links[edit]