SSE plc

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SSE plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSESSE
FTSE 100 Component
Founded1998; 21 years ago (1998)
HeadquartersPerth, Scotland, UK
Area served
United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland
Key people
Richard Gillingwater CBE (Chairman)
Alistair Phillips-Davies (CEO)
ServicesPower generation and distribution, natural gas production, transportation, and distribution, telecommunications, metering
Revenue£31,226.4 million (2018)[1]
£1,678.9 million (2018)[1]
£920.1 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
20,786 (2018)[1]

SSE plc (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy plc) is an energy company headquartered in Perth, Scotland.[2][3] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. SSE operates in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

It is involved in the generation and supply of electricity and gas, the operation of gas and telecoms networks and other energy related services such as gas storage, exploration and production, contracting, connections and metering. SSE is considered as one of the "Big Six" companies which dominate the 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 electricity industry within the United Kingdom in 1948.[4]

The former Southern Electricity Board was created in 1948 to distribute electricity in Southern England.[4] 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.[5]

Because of its history and location, the Hydro-Electric Board was responsible for most of the hydroelectric generating capacity in the United Kingdom.[6] 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.[7]

Post privatisation[edit]

Scottish and Southern Energy was formed in September 1998, following a merger between Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electric.[8] In August 2000, Scottish and Southern Energy acquired the SWALEC energy supply business.[8] SWALEC operate exclusively in Wales while SSE operates in Scotland and England.[9]

In July 2004, the company acquired the Ferrybridge and Fiddlers Ferry Power Stations for £250million.[10] In January 2008, it went on to buy Airtricity Holdings, an Irish wind farm business.[11] In August 2009, it agreed to purchase Uskmouth power station from Welsh Power Group Limited.[12] 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.[13]

In January 2010, Scottish and Southern Energy changed the core company branding from Scottish and Southern Energy to SSE.[14]

Separation of retail supply division[edit]

In November 2017, it was announced that SSE was looking to separate from its retail subsidiary which would then merge with the npower division of rival Innogy.[15] It was planned that SSE shareholders will own 65.6% of the demerged entity and Innogy would hold the remainder.[16] The resulting company would have been listed on the London Stock Exchange and included npower's residential and business retail business, and SSE's residential energy supply and home services business, excluding its business in Ireland. Although the merger received preliminary regulatory clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority on 30 August 2018,[17], and full clearance was given on 10 October 2018,[18] it was abandoned on 17 December 2018, with the companies blaming "very challenging market conditions".[19]

In September 2019 SSE announced that it would be selling its retail business to Ovo Energy. The sale was expected to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020, with Ovo retaining the SSE brand under licence for a period in order to facilitate "phased and carefully managed migration and continued high standards of customer service".[20]


A Scottish and Southern Energy van, 2011.

The company is the second largest supplier of electricity and natural gas in the United Kingdom, and the largest generator of renewable energy in the United Kingdom.[21]

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. Grid connections are more difficult in North Scotland, which receives funding from the rest of the United Kingdom to reduce tariffs.[22]

In March 2016, SSE announced it would be closing all branches of its Scottish Hydro Electric shops and the accompanying online store, citing "changing shopping habits and more customer choice meant the shops have been loss-making for a number of years".[23]

Generation mix[edit]


SSE had 2,975MW of renewable capacity at 30 September 2016, including its share of joint ventures, with 2,731MW of this in Great Britain. The British portfolio comprised (net): 1,150MW conventional hydro, 900MW onshore wind, 344MW offshore wind, 300MW pumped storage and 37MW dedicated biomass.[24]


SSE had 8,069MW of thermal capacity at 30 September 2016, comprising (net): 5,305MW of gas fired and oil fired generation and 1,995MW of coal fired generation.[25]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Living wage[edit]

SSE is the largest officially accredited Living Wage Employer in the United Kingdom. Nearly 20,000 staff across the United Kingdom are guaranteed to receive the living wage rate of at least £7.85 an hour.[26]

Fair Tax Mark[edit]

In October 2014, SSE became the first company on the FTSE 100 to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark which is an independent accreditation process for identifying companies making an effort to be transparent about their tax affairs.[27]


The SSE Hydro is an arena located in Glasgow, Scotland, on the site of the Scottish Event Campus (SEC). The arena officially opened on 30 September 2013, and has a capacity of 13,000. It was designed by the London based architects Foster + Partners. The SSE Hydro hosts international musical stars, global entertainment and sporting events, with an aim to attract one million visitors each year.[28]

The Odyssey Arena located within the Odyssey Complex in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is known as The SSE Arena, Belfast and has a sponsorship agreement for ten years, which began in June 2015.[29]

Wembley Arena located in London, England, is also sponsored by SSE, and is known as The SSE Arena, Wembley since April 2014, and has a sponsorship agreement for ten years.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). SSE. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Registered in Scotland No. 117119". Perth: Scottish and Southern Energy plc. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  3. ^ Brodie, Sophie (5 January 2008). "The Scottish utility". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b Katzarov, Konstantin (6 December 2012). Theory of Nationalization. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9789401510554.
  5. ^ "In pictures: 70 years of Scottish hydro power". BBC. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  6. ^ Clegg, H. A.; Chester, T. E. (September 1953). "The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board". Public Administration. 31 (3): 213–234. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9299.1953.tb01689.x.
  7. ^ Osborne, Alistair (8 April 2013). "Margaret Thatcher: one policy that led to more than 50 companies being sold or privatised". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b "SSE plc – The UK's broadest-based energy company". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) Contact Number". Utility Talk. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Scottish & Southern buys Fiddlers Ferry – Business News – Business – The Independent". The Independent. 30 July 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  11. ^ Scottish & Southern to buy Irish Windfarm firm
  12. ^ "SSE plc – The UK's broadest-based energy company". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  13. ^ Kennedy, Simon (1 April 2010). "Scottish & Southern buys Hess assets for $423 mln". MarketWatch. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  14. ^ First press release with new branding Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Vaughan, Adam (7 November 2017). "SSE and npower in talks to create giant UK energy supplier". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  16. ^ Thomas, Nathalie (8 November 2017). "SSE and Npower agree to combine household supply businesses". Financial Times. The Nikkei. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  17. ^ Vaughan, Adam (30 August 2018). "Npower-SSE merger wins go-ahead from competition watchdog". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Competition watchdog clears SSE-Npower merger". BBC News. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Energy giants abandon merger plan". BBC News. 17 December 2018.
  20. ^ "SSE sale of retail business to Ovo creates new UK energy giant". BBC News. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  21. ^ Scottish and Southern Energy Annual Report 2009
  22. ^ "Assistance for Areas with High Electricity Distribution Costs – National Grid". Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  23. ^ "SSE to close remaining Scottish Hydro Electric shops". BBC News. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  24. ^ "Renewables". SSE plc. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Thermal". SSE plc. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Energy firm SSE signs up as living wage employer". BBC. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  27. ^ "SSE leads way in campaign for fairer taxation". The Herald. 19 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  28. ^ "Timeline – The SSE Hydro". June 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  29. ^ "Odyssey complex becomes SSE Arena in cost cutting exercise". The Ulster Fry. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Wembley Arena to be renamed". The Guardian. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2018.

External links[edit]