SSE Freezes Energy Prices but Axes 500 Jobs
The company is holding on to its forecast of a profit rise in its energy-portfolio management and electricity-generation division SSE

SSE is the latest energy supplier to announce a price hike, after the company said on Monday (13 March) that its standard domestic electricity prices will increase by 6.9% from 29 April.

The Scotland-based group, one of Britain's "Big Six" energy providers, said its dual fuel increase will rise 6.9%, meaning a typical household will pay on average £73 a year more. However, the company added it will hold its gas prices.

"This is the first increase since 2013 and we've worked hard to keep them down for as long as possible by cutting our own costs, putting in place a winter price freeze and holding gas prices, but we have seen significant increases in electricity costs which are outside our control," said Will Morris, managing director for retail at SSE.

"Without an increase we would have been supplying electricity to domestic customers at a loss."

The company added the price change reflected the increasing cost of supplying electricity, and higher costs associated with delivering vital government programmes designed to upgrade Britain's ageing energy infrastructure and help the country move towards a low carbon future.

Last week, E.ON cited similar factors when it announced it would increase its dual fuel standard variable tariffs by 8.8% from April.

The German company said the move will affect approximately 2.5 million consumers, accounting for 62% of its total household customers, and was motivated by increasing costs related to the UK's social and environmental schemes.

SSE is the latest of the "Big Six" providers to announce a price hike after last month nPower announced it will hike prices by nearly 10% from 16 March, with approximately half of its 1.4 million customers set to be affected.

Scottish Power said standard electricity prices will increase by an average of 10.8% and gas prices by 4.7% on 31 March, while EDF Energy's electricity prices rose by 8.4% last week, even though the company cut its gas prices by 5.2% in January.

However, in February, British Gas unveiled plans to extend its price-freeze until August this year, after managing to "significantly" reduce its own costs.

Martin Lane, of consumer website money.co.uk, said SSE's hikes were not a surprise, as the company followed the example of its sector peers.

"This is a kick in the teeth to struggling families and a reminder that we all need to be tightening our purse strings to cope with price rises and looking where we can make savings," he added.

"Making a budget and sticking to it like glue will help along with reviewing all your outgoings and haggling because there are always savings to be had.

"Everyone should shop around for gas and electricity at least once a year – there's no point sticking with the same deal when you could pay hundreds less for exactly the same service elsewhere."