SSE’s response to the Conservative Party’s energy pledge

Posted On: 
9th May 2017

SSE notes today’s reports regarding the Conservative Party’s proposals on the energy supply market.

Customers interests are best served by suppliers working with government. Therefore, SSE seeks to work constructively with government and the regulator to deliver reforms to the energy supply market that benefit consumers. It believes that putting competition at the heart of the energy retail market is the best way to protect customers’ interests and provide them with choice and value.

Nonetheless, it is expected any incoming government seeking to introduce energy supply market reforms will also be committed to substantive consultation to ensure that any such reforms are well-founded, supported by objective analysis and introduced in a way that benefits all customers and supports the functioning of an effective and sustainable energy supply market. SSE will therefore participate fully and constructively in any such consultation process that takes place after the general election.

SSE would however continue to caution against the unintended consequences of intervention in what is a competitive, dynamic and fast changing market. It would also caution against relying on superficial analysis of the extent of the profits earned in supplying energy as the basis for any market reform.

The CMA spent two years investigating the energy market and the resulting remedies, which can make a difference for consumers, have not had time to take full effect. SSE would allow the CMA’s remedies time to embed before making another complex and potentially counterproductive intervention in the GB energy supply market.

At the same time, suppliers must ensure that they are taking steps to engage with their customers and offer them the range of products and excellent customer service that they expect. In February 2017 SSE published its plans in full for what is a considerable programme of proactive activity to engage its customers to ensure they are on the right products and benefit from the best possible services. It intends to take more steps in this area to engage its customers and ensure they are on the right deals for them. In addition, considerable investment is under way in major industry changes such as smart metering and faster switching – all contributing to an energy market that is now already being transformed.

SSE recognises energy is an essential service and in the context of rising costs has a duty to look after customers, especially where they are vulnerable. As such, it recently launched a £5 million fund to provide additional, targeted financial support over and above the range of assistance it already offers and is working to become the first energy supplier to attain the British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision.

As a UK-based energy company, SSE understands the challenge being posed to energy suppliers is to ensure all customers are offered a fair and rewarding deal for their energy. With that in mind it will continue in its own efforts to engage and reward all of its customers and will work with the regulator and whatever government takes office after the UK general election on this matter. However, it continues to caution against the unintended consequences of intervention and advises that the principle of competition in the energy market should be maintained and the practice of substantive consultation continued.